Sunday, 5 December 2010

The Be All and End All, and Norwegian Wood

The Be All and End All is a film about the friendship of two teenage boys. I didn't expect much before seeing the film, as I knew it's about how one of the boys helps his mate lose his virginity before he dies, but this seemingly silly subject matter is treated quite well, and the friendship is really touching while not being too sentimental. Recommended!

And tonight we just went to see the preview of Norwegian Wood, as I got two last minute tickets this morning because of cancellations due to the tube strike - I even wasted my original Onassis tickets for this! The reason for my eagerness to see this is that I read the book by Murakami (repeatedly) when I was a teenager, and I read most of Murakami's other works when I was younger. (I'm not following his recent works so much now...guess I've passed that phase!) It's one of those much-hyped love stories with a cult status, and it's one of the more accessible works of Murakami's. I remember understanding the whole thing when for me at that age Murakami's quite hard, especially his series of Wild Sheep Chase!

Much as I liked the book and was excited to get preview tickets for the film, I wasn't really expecting much, knowing what most artsy Japanese films are like - though this is not exactly a Japanese film, as it's filmed by the French-Vietnamese director Anh Hung Tran. Turned out the film's about what I had expected - slow, artsy, with lots of close-up shots. It's beautifully filmed, and aesthetically appealing - I was particularly drawn to the fashion of the time, which is the 1960s - they have very retro (in today's standard) shirts and dresses, and most of them look quite lovely! I especially like the clothes worn by Reiko (played by Reika Kirishima) - isn't it hard to imagine why a psychotic patient has such a beautiful wardrobe? Anyway, fashion is not the focus, but really, the film is probably more appealing aesthetically than in substance.

Side note: One thing that makes me realise I've really grown up (and have become so practical) is when I wonder, 'Wow, this boy can just study and read and do nothing else...I wish I were that kind of student again!'

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