Home Entertainment Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy review – a triptych of light-touch philosophy

Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy review – a triptych of light-touch philosophy

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Ryusuke Hamaguchi is a Japanese film-maker whose work I first encountered in 2018 along with his doppelgänger romance Asako I & II and not directly through final 12 months’s experimental chamber-piece Domains, whose screenwriter Tomoyuki Takahashi has labored with Hamaguchi. Now he has unveiled this ingenious, playful, sparklingly acted and totally entertaining portmanteau assortment of three film tales.

Their themes and concepts are rising as keynotes for this director: destiny and coincidence, id and role-play, and the mysteries of erotic pleasure and want. There’s a somewhat European flavour within the combine – one in every of its characters is a specialist in French literature – and I discovered myself considering of Emmanuel Carrère and Milan Kundera. And though there isn’t any formal connection between the tales (apart from the thematic echoes) the straightforward act of juxtaposition creates one thing pleasingly cohesive.

Within the first, Magic (Or One thing Much less Reassuring), we see a mannequin referred to as Meiko (Kotone Furukawa) going dwelling in a cab after a photoshoot along with her buddy, an artwork director referred to as Gumi (Hyunri Lee), and gossiping excitedly concerning the man that Gumi has began seeing. This marvellous-sounding particular person actually opened up about his personal emotions on their date, speaking concerning the ex who broke his coronary heart. One thing about this description makes Meiko very considerate, and he or she goes to see her personal ex, a profitable younger businessman referred to as Kaz (Ayumu Nakajima).

Within the second story, Door Vast Open, a mature scholar referred to as Nao (Katsuki Mori), married with a baby, is having a passionate affair with a younger undergraduate, Sasaki (Shouma Kai), who has simply been humiliatingly flunked by his professor Segawa (Kiyohiko Shubukawa), an award-winning scholar and novelist. Indignant and vengeful, Sasaki asks Nao to attempt seducing this man, in order that he might be disgraced.

And within the third story, As soon as Once more, Moka (Fusako Urabe) is a thirtysomething lady who goes to a dismal high-school reunion and solely afterwards on the practice station runs into the individual that she actually wished to see: the girl who was her past love. Nana (Aoba Kawai), although apparently flustered and bewildered, is delighted to see her. Nevertheless it isn’t till midway by their halting dialog that each ladies make an alarming discovery.

Hamaguchi exhibits how every scenario is redeemed, or at any charge altered, by a sort of miracle. Within the first, Meiko has the magic energy to cease and rewind time in order that she will be able to play out a sure scenario, or dialog, in another way. Within the second, the dignified thoughtfulness of Segawa signifies that Nao is deeply moved and this complicates her erotic designs on him. All through their dialog he asks for his workplace door to be stored open to stop any suggestion of impropriety, however that is additionally emblematic of his personal openness. And within the third, Moka and Nana use role-play to ease their painful emotional burdens.

This trio of tales is elegant and amusing, with a delicacy of contact and actual imaginative heat. The narratives saunter alongside evenly however essentially severely, asking us to contemplate how the paths we absorb life – the fallacious turnings, the appropriate turnings – may be ruled by the merest probability. It’s a extremely pleasurable and invigorating expertise.

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