Still the Water / 2つ目の窓
Naome Kawase manages to curb her new ageist tendencies a bit to create a moving coming-of-age story in her new film, Still the Water. At the heart of it is the bravura performance by Jun Yoshinaga as Kyoko, dealing with the impending death of her mother and having a crush on the difficult Kaito (Nijiro Murakami), who’s having his own mommy issues. Murakami isn’t quite up to the task of giving more than a couple of dimensions to his character. However Yoshinaga builds a more than believable character who shows fathoms of depth beneath her surface task of trying to get laid. Taking place on the island of Amami-Oshima, Kawase carefully paints a portrait of a community dealing with lives, deaths, relationships and the beautiful and terrifying qualities of nature. The scene where Kyoko’s mother passes is a tour de force of working sentiment and an almost anthropological view as she’s sung off into the unknown with island folk songs. Kawase, who can be a maddening filmmaker, sometimes finds sublimely magic moments.
Originally published in EL Magazine, August 2014