Gelatin Silver, Love

January 20, 2011

Gelatin Silver, Love (Japan, 2009)

A middle aged man moves to a rundown building. His aim is to videotape every move of a woman living next door. Little is explained, or said – the first lines of dialogue come 25 minutes into the movie.

Photographer turned movie director Kazumi Kurigami’s fascinating arthouse thriller is painted in black & blue, with razor sharp focus on detail and atmosphere. It’s a photographic mystery disguised as thriller, a mystery where the challenge is to find the mystery itself.

Another Sakuran this is not. Fashion photographer Mika Nishikawa’s film debut from a few years back was a lackluster pastel color explosion with Ringo Shiina’s punk-pop soundtrack. Kurigami’s film is anti-Sakuran.

Masatoshi Nagase stars. The target of his camera, Rie Miyazawa, has been in the focus before – the popular idol wrecked her career in the early 90’s by appearing in nude photos, but has made an impressive comeback in the 2000’s.

Less attention could be given to Miazawa’s half-boiled egg obsession. But Kurigami’s dark view of beauty is not for everyone. Nor is the sedate pace that alone will eliminate the non-qualified viewers.

The soundtrack comes with questionable but not all that bad guitar riffs. Yousui Inoue’s melancholic Love Lila is a different story. It’s the most fitting ending song in ages – one that indentifies the entire film.

Also props for director Kurigami for making his movie debut – at the age of 72.


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