Saturday, May 26, 2007

memories of matsuko

Memories of Matsuko (Tetsuya Nakashima, 2006) - 10/10

Director, Tetsuya Nakashima brought you Kamikaze Girls previously. A movie boasting two female characters struggling to find common ground in their friendship. My first glance into Nakashima's work, his film-making style hit me from the start. Memories of Matsuko opens almost fairytale-like. The opening underwater sequence reminded my of the sequence in Walt Disney's The Little Mermaid. In fact, Nakashima manages to combine numerous fantasy/fairytale elements and elements from famous films. An example include The Wizard of Oz, where we experience a scene reminiscent to the yellow brick road. Aside from the beautifully stunning scenes of bright and luscious colours, Japanese pop music (Jpop) vibe, and bits of animation, therein lies a beautiful and tragic story of Matsuko.

Told through flashbacks (memories) into the life of Matsuko, Matsuko's nephew attempts to unearth why she was murdered, and any traces of memories others and him might have of Matsuko. We realize through these memories, that love and loneliness played opposing forces throughout Matsuko's life. Love she seeked, loneliness she avoided. But through avoiding loneliness, love avoided her. From the two films I've enjoyed in Nakashima's work, he creates female character roles with strong development and personalities, and with their own set of misguided opportunities in life. What is life if you don't live it to the fullest? Its no wonder the resemblance to the yellow brick road recognizes the road leading to one's path in life, no matter how difficult or tragic.

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