January 24, 2006

Don't Go Into The Lights

MaborosiWhen tragedy and disaster happens either of the "your office burns down over the weekend" variety or the "your husband and the father of your 3 month old son is hit by a train" ilk...actually, it's entirely unfair to compare the Cinecultist's feeling this weekend discovering that our Day Job office building has sustained a major fire and the experience of Yumiko in Hirokazu Kore-eda's Maborosi. That experience took her years to bounce back and really CC and our fellow staff members are mostly fine but for the annoyance of working off-site for a few days. There's really no equivalent.

More so even than his lovely and affecting later features After Life and Nobody Knows, Marorosi is like a painting on screen. Meditative shots of city walk ways, seascapes, children running through green-lit tunnels and a father with kids and a dog playing on the beach become an interplay between space and form. Like a Japanese wood cut painting of a mountainside and one tree, Kore-eda's obsession with symmetry is hypnotic as the figures more from one part of the screen to the next. What may seem slow or ponderous at first glance about the not much of anything plot (woman widowed, woman remarries) leaves more than enough room for the cinematography to shine.

Towards the end of the film the depressed Yumiko tells her new husband she can't get over the idea that her suicidal husband looked into the abyss and gave in, even with herself and their young child as a teether to this world. In response, he tells her a story from his fisherman father of seeing lights on the sea's horizon which calls to you. There is a moment then, when all of us can choose whether to acquiesce or not. There's something excessively sad about that thought and yet it seems to cheer Yumiko. She's heard the maborosi calling but she does not heed them. The possibilities of life are too strong. We can rebuild again.

Posted by karen at January 24, 2006 8:54 AM