March 1, 2021

The imaginary friend | Culture

The change of address, city, environments and friends during childhood and adolescence has long since become a universal classic of youth stories in all genres. Nostalgia, fear and loneliness often win over adventure and expectations: childhood is conservative by nature.


Address: Iroshi Okuyama.

Interpreters: Yura Sato, Riki Okuma, Hinako Saeki, Kouichi Nihei.

Gender: drama. Japan, 2018.

Duration: 78 minutes

Any collateral aspect can even enlarge the restlessness and those that accompany the move of the 9-year-old boy of the Japanese film Jesus they are not trivial: the discovery of Catholicism, of daily prayer and of concepts and names absolutely new for him in the new school; and the move to the grandmother's house, which will also become her roommate after the recent death of the grandfather. First encounters with death and beyond. Too.

Iroshi Okuyama, a very young 22-year-old novel director, opts for his film for an unclassifiable tone that seems to circulate through drama, but in which black humor sometimes explodes and, above all, an onirism in which each appearance acquires unique prominence of his new friend (imaginary): nothing less than Jesus Christ.

And although it is unlikely that Okuyama has seen Marcelino bread and wine (Ladislao Vajda, 1954), it may be impossible for the Spanish movie buff to remove the comparison of the head because, deep down, in the minds of both children there is the same helplessness and such misunderstanding of theological aspects impossible for those ages. Of course, in front of the powerful almost terrifying mystique of Vajda's film, Okuyama visualizes the Messiah as a kind of mixture between the Bell of Peter Pan (bright glow, included) and the Jiminy Cricket of Pinocchio, in a fine line in which on one side is the happy naivety and on the other, the ridiculous.

Shot in a less and less unusual format 4: 3, Jesus, New Directors Award in San Sebastián 2018, in a competition in which the Spanish were also Journey to a mother's room, Notes for a robbery movie Y Deer, and the vietnamese The third wife, it is better the more daring his director decides to impose: the outbreaks of black comedy; the succession of planes of flowers. However, as a contemporary line of author cinema in half the world, it lacks height and transcendence, and prefers to take refuge in a subtlety and more stony symbolisms than brilliant, without abounding in the theological universes complexes that, by choice, had dared approach.

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