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HomeentertainmentMovie News'Love Your Life' Review: Koji Fukada's Insightful Study of Grief and Guilt

'Love Your Life' Review: Koji Fukada's Insightful Study of Grief and Guilt

Apartment in the center of Love Life , Yasushi Fukada mellow study of grief and dislocation, just like the movie , small and practical. A long table, surrounded by a long narrow bench and various chairs, occupies the center of the living room. The kitchen is tucked away in the corner. Near the entrance: bathroom with short tub, sink, toilet. Towards the rear: sliding doors to the balcony overlooking the hideous concrete block; bedroom on the right. Evidence of family life is everywhere: height marks carved on walls, trophies, diplomas, children’s drawings, books, clothes on hooks, shoes in corners.

Taeko (Fumino Kimura), Jiro (Kento Nagayama) and their 6-year-old son Kaita (Tetsuta Shimada) live in this humble space, and how they relate to this is one of the most revealing aspects of Fukada’s latest feature. With Love Life, the Japanese director expands on the range of themes he explored in earlier films, such as the hilarious Hospitalité and menacing Drama Harmonic . Isolation, emotional distance, and (mis)communication are all on display in Love Life, although these themes approach in a bewildering but welcome light-hearted way that highlights the importance of family life. absurd.


BOTTOM LINE A beautiful story about life after tragedy.

1993 Venice Film Festival (Contest)

Kimura Fumino, Nagayama Kento, Shimada Tetsuda, Atom Sanda, Yamazaki Hirona, Kanno Mizu, Taguchi Tomo

Director and screenwriter: 1993Fukada Yasushi 1993
2 hours 3 minutes

Love Life Inspired by Japanese jazz and pop singer Akiko Yano’s song of the same name. According to news reports, Fukada 20 heard the song when he was young and had been thinking about how to construct a film translation. This song speaks of a grand declaration – “No matter how far apart we are, nothing can stop me from loving you,” She moaned for a while. Fukada’s films test this emotion and explore it beyond romantic love, applying this commitment to current lovers, former lovers, and the relationship between mothers and their children.

The film begins with Taeko, Jiro and Keita preparing for the celebration – Keita winning the Othello board game, which is actually Jiro’s surprise birthday party father , Cheng (Taguchi Tomio). Fukada carefully builds up the jagged family dynamics: In one scene, Taeko sees Jiro trying to get his colleagues to raise balloons and a sign that says “Congratulations”; her gaze is emotionless. In another story, when Taeko and Kaita were playing Othello, Jiro stood by the stove and complained that the boy never wanted to play with him. Taeko encourages Kaita to play with her father through sign language. Keita smiled and said Jiro was trash.

The common language between mother and son distinguishes them from Erlang, who communicates with a brief “um.” When we meet the latter’s parents, the dividing line becomes clearer. Makoto and Akie (Mizu Kanno) have a hard time accepting Taeko because Keita is her son from a previous marriage. Despite Akie’s comical attempts to keep the peace, Makoto’s off-hand jab escalates into a tense exchange with his daughter-in-law.

When Keita died – he slipped and fell into the bathtub still full of water – the rift in the relationship calcified. Fukada’s abrupt portrayal of the child’s death reflects how tragedy can abruptly interrupt life.

Grief reveals the truth about the family, as each member handles Keita’s death differently: Makoto and Akihiko decide to move to the country to make good on their promise. They are no longer chained to their apartment across the yard from Taeko and Jiro, and they no longer carry on with their lives with much fanfare. Jiro straddles the line between his parents’ mild reactions and Taeko’s overwhelming sadness: A year after marrying Taeko, he’s only known Kaita for a relatively brief — albeit intense — period. Nagayama captures Jiro’s inner words well: his sense of responsibility to Taeko, the cowardice that prevents him from telling her the truth about his last romance with Yamazaki (Hirana Yamazaki), and the anxiety and ego of his betrayal with Taeko

Unlike Jiro, Taeko is distraught and helpless due to the loss of a child. Fukada elegantly displays the growing distance between the two, oozing cold through family routines. In one particularly striking scene, Jiro, who was picking out funeral photos for Keita, invited Taeko to join him. She initially sat next to him, but when he asked for an old photo of Keita (not from last year), she moved to the other side of the long dining table and sifted through her archives. The apartment is bathed in a warm, saturated golden light, but the intimacy of that moment is icy, grey and dead.

At Kaita’s funeral, Taeko’s ex-husband Park (Atom Sunada), a deaf Korean national living in Japan, appears. Years ago, after leaving Taeko and Queen Kai without explanation, the heartbroken father reappeared and slapped his ex-wife. It was a disturbing moment when Taeko, who was sobbing sharply, showed any emotion for the first time. After Park Geun-hye re-entered Taeko’s life, a bizarre love triangle was formed. There is no physical intimacy between the ex-husband and ex-wife, but their emotional intimacy, deepened by the death of their son, and Park’s sudden decision to apply for benefits at the office where Jiro and Taeko work entangle their lives. Jiro, a mirage chasing morality, encourages Taeko to help Park.

She did it. But it soon becomes clear that Park is Taeko’s coping mechanism, a vessel where she can pour out her grief and guilt. She lets Parker live in Erlang’s parents’ old apartment and insists to him, herself and others that her ex-husband, who is also homeless, needs her. The desperation of being helpful and devoted to Park’s life obscures Taeko’s vision, preventing her from realizing her ex-husband’s selfishness.

Fukada maintains a largely steady attitude throughout the story, allowing the relationship between Park, Taeko, and Jiro to unfold at a natural and unhindered pace. It’s helpful that the three core cast members — Kimura, Nagayama, and Sunada — seem to fit into their characters. There is no rigidity to their portrayal. Humor — laced by the cast’s ruthless jokes, borderline absurd dilemmas — also keeps the film going, preventing it from being weighed down by sentimentality.

But there are times when Love Life‘s plot feels too gross and obvious, and Fukada relies on convenient and sometimes cheesy shortcuts Let’s move from one big moment to the next. While these may be meant to reflect the randomness of life, they are contrary to Love Life, interrupting the other mesmerizing spells Fukada casts.



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