a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Sora wo Hiraku / 空を拓く

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SoraWoHikuThe life and accomplishments of architect Kaku Morin are given the surface treatment in Mistuko Sakai’s barely functional hagiography of this major player in post-war Japan, Sora wo Hiraku. Morin’s the man responsible for the first skyscraper built in Tokyo, the Kasumigaseki Building. He’s also had his hand in many other forgettable monuments to bland modernism (including Ikebukuro’s Sunshine City). Sakai gives the briefest of outlines, feting these rather monstrous structures, but gives most of the screen time to Morin. He appears to be an affable old codger as he spends his twilight years being a guest of honor at architectural events and symposia. Rather than probe into him and his legacy – his bad influence on how Tokyo developed is worthy of a strong screed – Sakai settles for platitudes and non-statements by Morin. There are more than enough sequences of old colleagues eating Chinese food and getting drunk. Sakai’s documentary is as dull as Morin’s buildings. Sora wo Hiraku is fine example of access wasted and in its tepid way a backhanded tribute to Morin.

Originally published in EL Magazine, February 2013.


Written by Nicholas Vroman

February 2, 2013 at 12:44 am

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