Watashi no otoko
Watashi no otoko starts with an interesting premise. Hana, a young girl orphaned by the tsunami of 1993 in Hokkaido is taken in by Jungo (Tadanobu Asano), a 20-something distant relative. Cut to Hana (Fumi Nikaido) as a teenager, living with Jungo in a perpetually snowy port town. Their loving relationship turns into a different kind of loving – with a mess of repercussions. Kazuyoshi Kumakiri is deft with a certain kind of cinematic naturalism. His Summer’s End and Sketches of Kaitan City prove it. Outside of that realm, he gets into cold water. One can pinpoint the scene in Watashi no Otoko where it all falls apart – a blood drenched Kubrickian fantasy lovemaking session that’s supposed to be the turning point of the affair between Hana and Jungo. After that, the plot devolves into some sort of thriller meets tragedy that misfires on both fronts. Nikaido puts her all into Hana, giving her a bit of believability, whereas Asano, usually a blank slate, ends up chewing the scenery at the denouement with a patent dishonesty.
Originally published in EL Magazine, July 2014