a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Cowards Who Looked to the Sky / ふがいない僕は空を見た / Fugainai Boku wa Sora wo Mita

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Yuki Tanada’s Cowards Who Looked to the Sky is a  soap-operatic exploration of relationships, sexuality and coming of age in a small town. At more than 2 hours, it could have been cut to a satisfying 90 minutes and been a much better film. What works best is the cosplay romance between insecure and browbeaten wife Satomi (Tomoko Tabata) and her high school-aged paramour Takumi (Kento Nagayama). Seeing Takumi as the knight from her favorite manga, Satomi seduces the very willing young man to indulge costumed lovemaking – a welcome escape from their troubled personal lives and the dull environment of your average Japanese town. Between peer pressure and the desires of a girl more his age he breaks off the affair. Another story takes over – about Ryota (Masataka Kubota), Takumi’s best friend, and his struggles with taking care of a senile grandmother and his own dark sexuality. And then there’s the background story of Takumi’s mother’s natural childbirth clinic. The many plotlines serve only to smother the otherwise fine nuances of the performances.

Originally published in EL Magazine, November 2012.

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