At nearly 2 and half hours, director Ayumi Sakamoto’s debut feature, Forma, manages to demonstrate how “slow cinema” can go all wrong. The plot follows a handful of characters. Ayako (Nagisa Umeno), an OL living with her dad (Ken Mitsuishi) runs into an old high school classmate, Yukari (Emiko Matsuoka) and offers her a job. For the first 80 minutes or so, it’s obvious that something’s off and pretty foreboding about their relationship. The second act focuses on Yukari and a subplot about her relationships with her fiancé and another young man. It ends up with a highly telegraphed denouement – a 26-minute shot where all is sort of revealed and the obnoxious Ayako is finally killed off. Slow cinema has its auteurs. Look at Bresson or Lisandro Alonso. But between the poorly written script, endless shots that neither further the thin plot nor build mood and most egregiously, fore front a completely banal high school revenge story, Sakamoto’s exercise in audience abuse shows she has no clue about how and why people make movies.
Originally published in EL Magazine, August 2014