» » Gururi no koto (2008)

Short summary

In 1993 Kanao and Shoko are a Tokyo couple awaiting the arrival of their first child. Although both have studied art, Kanao works as a shoe repairman which doesn't stretch his rather laid-back style and Shoko works in a small publishing firm. Their home life is marked by some clashes between her attempts at regimentation, including scheduling their sex life on a calendar, and his flirting with other women. Kanao is offered work as a courtroom sketch artist and becomes a witness to the most sensational murder trials of Japan through the next 8 years. He must cope with the ugliness and breakdown in civility he encounters. Shoko also re-discovers her artistic side as she confronts the dark side of life when struggling with depression over the loss of a child and the dysfunctional aspects of the lives of her mother and brother.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Mushicage
    In Japan the critics couldn't understand why this film wasn't put up for the Oscar while Departures was. I can completely understand that feeling. I don't know if I agree, but I understand it.

    This is the story of couple over the course of the better part of a decade. She works for a publisher and he is cobbler. She likes to plan everything, while he likes to go with the flow. He occasionally wanders, and while she doesn't like it she puts up with it because she loves him. As the film opens the couple is expecting their first child. At the same time he is offered a new job as a trial sketch artist. Over the course of the film we watch as life happens, as they lose their child, drift apart and try to stay together as the course of history happens around them.

    This could almost be called Scenes From a Marriage, since that is what the film is. Its the course of the years on a very likable couple, who try to simply get by. Beautifully acted, the performances are so real I'm left to wonder if this isn't really a documentary. This is simply scenes in the life, we come in at a moment and then drift off to another. Volumes are not explained, but we never feel left out. Events play out over the course of the decade, the repercussions of the events, the death of the baby, are not quickly forgotten. Its an amazing slice of life film. And life is what the film is, its a very real, very breathing film. I know because I've been in some of these situations, I've said very similar words. The film is often note perfect.

    This is gorgeous winning film that people really should see. Its as close to a representation of real life as one is likely to see.

    How do I know this is a wonderful film? I put it on and the next thing I knew was the film was almost half way over. Its film that you fall into, it opens mid-action, and just drags you along. I love to start a film and not be aware that time has passed or that I'm watching a movie. The film just goes and there's no thought of reaching for the remote.

    If there is anything wrong with the film its that watching it one has to battle preconceived notions. Its a bad thing only in that you are forced to deal with the film getting to a certain point before moving on. We have been trained to expect a film to be a story with a beginning middle and end, but in this film life is happening and we're only pausing to watch some of it. To that end the end left me wanting more, what happens next, where do they go from here? There are no answers. I know that knowing that will make the second and fifth viewings so much better.

    Picking the opening question up I ask-Is this better than the Oscar winning Departures? I can't compare. The films are different. Comparing them isn't fair. It is at the very least its equal. Which do I like better, I think Departures, but thats purely a personal choice. What I think is that if you love good movies you should see this. If you want a great film that shows life you should see this, just don't expect to have all of your questions answered, because as in life you won't get it.

    One of the best films of the year.
  • comment
    • Author: Yggdi
    This movie could be in a similar vain as some Japanese classic movies (Tokyo Story for example, pace-wise, not story-wise of course). It really is slow moving and takes time to introduce you to the two main characters.

    Even the secondary characters get screen time and you get to know them. Apart from the really nice story/character arcs you get treated to some history/crime lessons. Some events that real happened in Japan are mentioned. But they don't feel out of context, although they don't always really fit into the story, they always keep the movie flowing nicely. For (some) western audiences a few behavior mannerisms might seem odd, but I personally did like the characters, with all their flaws and quirks.
  • comment
    • Author: greed style
    Director obviously studied masters like Godard, Antonioni, Cassavetes, Sirk and Polanski.

    Film pace is like Ozu, in that director slowly unravels much of story in real time. So viewer feels like a character at a table sipping tea, waits impatiently for an elevator, stares in a mirror at oneself bewildered or simply passes time with the players in the film.

    Brilliant sound editing during languid intervals. Cutlets sizzle in a fry pan, water runs in a sink, tea water bubbles and boils, soft warm breath exhales hot soup. Distinct sounds create atmosphere. Carl Jung wrote that smells evoke the most profound memories, but since that's not possible in a movie, sound subliminally provokes similar strong memory response.

    The story details several years in a marriage between two artists who struggle to find a satisfying way to earn a living, deal with the tragic loss a baby, and interpersonal relationships with family, friends, employers, co-workers, in a rapidly changing society in which we are all forced to adjust in no matter what part of the globe we live. Universal issues.

    That's why this movie works.

    Brilliant in all aspects. The acting is so real you often feel as if you are watching a documentary.

    When watching foreign movies, I always take with a grain of salt the translated subtitles, but, although I don't know Japanese, the translator has a fantastic grasp of American slang.

    What does not need translating is the shot selection, the framing of actors' silent responses. Editing is as much a part of the storytelling as the dialogue. Job well done.

    Exceptionally well-made movie that shows a fascinating slice of modern life in Japan. Women wear jeans and hoodies these days, people. Yet Japanese culture is still bound with rigid and complex traditions that few Westerners can begin to understand. To watch the modern Japanese characters cope with these traditions in the modern world is something rebellious artistic types anywhere can relate to no matter in what language or into whatever culture one was born.

    Presented by the Sundance Channel. Thanks, Sundance! Thanks Mr. Redford! I'm a film nut, but I'd never heard of this outstanding film. Hope more people in the West have the opportunity to see it, as it's a great, great movie.

    P. S. Film is based on a novel, so credit for story must also go to novelist. :)
  • comment
    • Author: Goll
    Unlike this director/writer's past work, which I have been a fan of, this film I found quite lacklustre. The characters and script, from the beginning, can be disappointing, shameless, crude, negative. The aesthetics are not fantastic - plain looking interiors of offices, restaurants.

    There wasn't much of the magic tenderness I have seen in past films, more of the disappointing and flawed realities. I couldn't relate to the characters.

    The storyline is not dazzlingly original, nor particularly happy.

    Lacking something magic, lacking something beautiful.
  • comment
    • Author: Lailace
    I give this film a less than enthusiastic recommendation. It is a quality film and Lily Franky's performance is one to behold (even more so knowing this is his acting debut--I wonder how much he studied or trained). The film could have been more tightly edited. There are too many scenes of ... nothing. I understand this style is done too create an atmosphere and control a pace, and it's a style I generally like, but I think the director over did it. A little too often shots are *predictably* about nothing, slowing the pace without advancing or fleshing out the characters or story. They're just there to say ... "Nothing happens here", just like in real life. In the end, however, my only real criteria for not giving it higher marks is that I have no desire to watch it again. It came, it was good, but now it's gone.
  • Credited cast:
    Lily Franky Lily Franky - (as Lily Frankie)
    Tae Kimura Tae Kimura
    Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
    Masaaki Akahori Masaaki Akahori
    Tamae Andô Tamae Andô
    Hirofumi Arai Hirofumi Arai
    Mitsuko Baishô Mitsuko Baishô
    Noriko Eguchi Noriko Eguchi
    Akira Emoto Akira Emoto
    Yuki Enomoto Yuki Enomoto
    Kôjun Itô Kôjun Itô
    Shûko Itô Shûko Itô
    Eri Iwamoto Eri Iwamoto
    Ryo Kase Ryo Kase - (as Ryô Kase)
    Reiko Kataoka Reiko Kataoka
    Akiko Kikuchi Akiko Kikuchi
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