And… action: Berlinale rush begins

12Feb11

… with standing in line. But all in all, the lines have been quite alright, at least the first couple of days. When I went to the ticket counter on Tuesday I got 7 movies for one day simply because I wasn’t prepared yet. You can count on the line.

But yesterday was the big day: the first film, and what a film. Heaven’s Story by Zeze Takahisa, one of the legendary directors of Japanese “pink films”. But pink was nothing in this movie, so don’t get excited.

Heaven’s Story goes for the big themes that move us, life, death, revenge, even love, in an odd non-romantic way. Where others would have taken two hours to tell the story, this film took us through four and a half hours (I have been thinking that it can be considered a quality that three quarters of the audience stayed until the very end).

The story picks up after two homicides that interrupt two very different families which the surviv0rs’ search for revenge connects.

The human stands in the very center of this movie. The camera hardly ever leaves the characters alone. It doesn’t shy away from their anger and despair (maybe a bit less shouting would have worked as well). The film follows the characters in their search “to be remembered by the unborn”, as one of the murderers explains why he has killed. The individual is contrasted only by the anonymous city suburbs full of apartment buildings, just a couple of people, out of millions and millions. And the landscapes, the ocean, heaven, the mountains, in their four seasons. The camerawork (Atsuhiro Nabeshima) is outstanding, always focusing on the characters, and how they fit, or rather, how they do not fit in their environment.

One of the characters asks: “Take me some place that surprises me and I let you go.” He takes her to the beach where she can finally let out her anger and frustration. They are all outsiders, without a social life. Yet they go on, in search of being remembered by someone, anyone.

After this great start yesterday, four films to come today. More here!

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One Response to “And… action: Berlinale rush begins”

  1. 1 Coney Islander

    Yes this was an excellent start into the festival, the land- and cityscape shots are a definite highlight. Among my favourite sequences was the one with the japanese indie shoegazers. only the constant shouting and crying by various characters gets to be a bit too much for my taste.i still wonder where the film was shot, I would like to go!


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