Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sarusuberi Miss Hokusai: a Review

This is supposed to be a Facebook post but I think I end up wrote too many words and this blog has been neglected for so long and need a new content, so.. yeah. Anyway, onto the topic. I've heard about this movie since last year and it got me interested, but just on the 'quite interested' level. I saw the art and thought, oh its good, probably the kind of dorama feel slice of life rather than girls-do-cute-thing slice of life. With that level of interest, when the raw finally came out, I still didn't feel the kind of ZOMGTHERAWISOUTIMUSTWATCHITNOW interest. The kind of thing I usually feel when a movie that I hype is finally out. Even when the subs is out, looking at the file size, I just went oh look at that size, I think I'll just request one of my friend to download it, although with my current internet connection I'll be able to download it in half a day. And even then, after my friend downloaded the film, it still took a few weeks till I manage to copy and watch it, because I didn't put it into my top priority and gets slip down by other stuff.

But then I watch it.

And HOLY ZEN, THIS MOVIE IS AMAZING. I didnt expect anything when I watched but even if I did I dare say that this movie would still surpassed my expectation. Turn out it was adapted from a 1983 manga by a mangaka turn Edo expert, Sugiura Hinako (she died in 2005). This explains all the lively details and atmosphere in the movie. 

Now onto the short review. I tried to keep the spoiler to minimum but if you want to really enjoy the movie, perhaps its better if you dont read this and just go watch the movie. All you need to know is just like what I only know before watching the movie; that this movie is about the daughter of a great artist in Edo period, period (oh the pun).

But if you want a little bit more of the substance, I'd say that this movie is about life. Okay, maybe that's not just 'a little bit'. Sure, the choice that this movie choose to depict the life of an artist makes it more interesting but the core of living itself should be an interesting story no matter what the person's occupation is (this is the base of that infamous Miyazaki's line 'animu was a misteeekk"). There are a lot of heartwarming just as much as heart breaking moments in this movie. It has a lot of koplak moments just as much as it has its profound moments that's enough to make you contemplate. But it manages to not getting too carried away from using its status of 'movie about artist' that it becomes too artsy or 3DEEP5U. And I came to realization that perhaps this is because the art that the artists in this movie creates contribute to something that the society need (ha, take that you smug artisan).

But does that make this movie is family friendly? naaah. And that is all the more reason I love this movie. It also got its own vulgar and sensual sides, albeit not too explicit. And the amazing thing? it also has its own spirituality just a much as it has its sensuality. It doesn't shy away from telling you about taboo and it doesn't afraid from telling you about God and the afterlife. Of course whether you will see some of the events in this movie are just a mere coincidence or a divine intervention is up to your belief, after all, that's also what applies to things related with the religion. Oh, but the movie doesn't take a side nor it force you to pick a side, it just bare it all for you to see and to give you some food for thought. Heck it doesn't even try to explain. And it was for the best, because there are some things in life that is best left unexplained.

Maybe for the vvibu, this 

would works better than this?

But if the base of the belief is different would it still considered valid? another food for thought has been presented just like what you will find in this movie. 

Now speaking about the visuals, of course a movie about artist would be ironic if it doesn't have artistic presentation. Scenes flows aesthetically pleasing and HOLY SHIT IS THAT A BUNCH OF SYMBOLISM THROWN IN EVERYWHERE? The OST also has its own charm. According to ANN, this movie has won several awards, with the most recent is Mainichi Film Award, which previously has been awarded to titles like Giovanni's Island, Princess Kaguya, Wolf Children, Hotarubi no Mori e, Colorful, Summer Wars and The Sky Crawlers. If you're familiar with those titles, you can expect the similar breath also exist in this movie.

And one more thing that make the movie got a solid 10/10 for me, is that it doesn't have a beginning or an ending. Sure, for some people, many of these ambiguous, unexplained, incomplete elements in this movie would feel like an annoyance, but for me this is the best way to portray what is life suppose to be. A fleeting moment, a transience and impermanence thing that is short but blazing with colorful passions. 


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