a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Women on the Edge / Girigiri no Onnatachi

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Mashiro Kobayashi is the most frustratingly great director working in Japan right now. He can make an austere masterpiece like The Rebirth and follow it up with an incomprehensible and ugly mess like White Nights. On the heels of Haru’s Journey, his brilliant and heartfelt collaboration with Tatsuya Nakadai, his hermetic reflection on the aftermath of 3.11, Women on the Edge, is a supreme failure. The story, revolves around a reunion of three sisters, Takako (Watanabe Makiko), Nobuko (Nakamura Yuko) and Satomi (Fujima Miho) at their family home in Tohoku. The abandoned house, spared from the flood, is the backdrop for untold family secrets to be told and psychodramas to unfold from a set of siblings with a mess o’ issues. Despite the talents of the usually splendid Watanabe and the other actresses involved, the whole thing devolves into a rather numbing shriekfest. Counterpointing the problems of a national disaster – rather mildly mentioned – with a family drama can be an intriguing rationale for a movie. That Kobayashi missed his mark so badly saddens me.

Originally published in EL Magazine, August 2012.


Written by Nicholas Vroman

August 1, 2012 at 4:36 am

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