Jul 9

WITLife is a periodic series written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03). She starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some of the interesting tidbits and trends together with her own observations.

Both films screened last night at Japan Society’s Japan Cuts festival were road movies.  The first, Accidental Kidnapper, is reminiscent of Clint Eastwood’s A Perfect World, but I found the second one, One Million Yen Girl, to be more distinctly Japanese.  Both feature well-known leads who are easy on the eyes (Katsunori Takahashi and Aoi Yu, respectively) and are backed by strong supporting casts, including Takashi Sasano who makes an appearance in both as an advocate for the main character. 

In Accidental Kidnapper he plays a convict who advises Takahashi how to carry out his kidnapping, and in the latter he is a coffee shop proprietor in a small mountain village.  In my previous double header, the actor Eita also appeared in both movies; he shows great versatility as one of the main characters in The Foreign Duck, The Native Duck and God in a Coin Locker and has a bit part in Hanging Garden.  Both he and Sasano are also in Dear Doctor which was shown last weekend, so they tie for the award for being in the most movies screened at the festival!

In Accidental Kidnapper, imagery from A Perfect World is recreated from the first shot where falling cherry blossoms take the place of the swirling money in the opening scene of the earlier movie.  There is other stunning scenery along the course that Takahashi travels with the boy he has kidnapped, Densuke, in hopes of getting a large ransom from his rich family.  Little does he know that Densuke’s father is a yazuka, so of course all sorts of hijinks ensue. 6 going on 7 Densuke is precocious for his age, and the catch phrase that he often repeats is “Promises are made to be kept.”  The bond that forms between him and his kidnapper is quite natural, and I found myself wanting them to find a way to stay together even though I knew this was not possible.

You will also find yourself rooting for the main character Suzuko in One Million Yen Girl.  She is a 21-year old down on her luck who sets out from home with the goal of staying in a new city until she is able to save one million yen ($10,000).  Once she does, she will move on to the next one and repeat the process.  While she is on the move she keep in touch with her brother, who is in elementary school and struggling with bullies, by writing letters.  Her journey brings her to a seaside town where she discovers her talent for making shaved ice, the aforementioned mountain village where her skill for peach picking is revealed, and finally to a city outside Tokyo where she makes her first deep human connection with her same age co-worker.  Will their love be able to provide Suzuko with roots or will she make her way once again when she gets to the magic number?

Comments are closed.

Page Rank