written by Amy Seaman
This is the second in a series of reviews about films showing at the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival, which runs until October 30 at select cinemas throughout Roppongi.
With its rough editing, abrupt scene changes and nearly nonexistent transitions, About the Pink Sky is an indie film that manages to straddle the fine line between being ridiculously pretentious and artfully epic, despite the fact that the entire film — save for the credits — is in black and white.
In one sentence, this is a coming-of-age story. An 113-minute tale about the trials and tribulations of growing up as a high school student in Japan, narrated from the perspective of four different individuals, all played by actresses and actors that few of us have heard of. But just because this movie has no known talents and is only director Keiichi Kobayashi’s third film doesn’t mean you should turn away yet — this is a good movie, albeit with a slightly stereotypical plot.
Relying on a cast comprised entirely of minor performers can sometimes be a risk unrewarded, but in this case, Kobayashi’s decision to cast somewhat inexperienced actors and actresses only manages to emphasise and strengthen the sprinklings of political and social commentary uttered by various characters throughout the film.
It’s the raw nature of Kobayashi’s footage — think inconsistent contrast, rapidly darkening rooms, uneven voices — that makes About the Pink Sky feel less like a distant movie, and more like a story told by a friend of a friend. The majority of the film’s characters are known only by one name, which further highlights the fact that this — finding a wallet containing 300,000 yen in the street — could happen to anyone, anywhere.
Sure, the “anyone, anytime, anywhere” thing might be a little bit cliché, but for a movie that, at its core, simply depicts the day-to-day interactions between high school students, the ultimate message of the film only resonates that much more when presented under implications of ubiquity.
So what’s the final message? You’ll have to watch to find out.
See About the Pink Sky on Tuesday, October 25 at the Roppongi Cinemart starting from 4 p.m. in Roppongi. Tickets are available online at www.tiff-jp.net and at the box office itself.
** This film is produced in Japanese, with English subtitles **