Monday, August 19, 2013

The little girl in me

WARNING: May contains trace of spoilers! People allergic to the discussion of any plot's elements before seeing a movie are strongly advised to take the necessary precautions for their safety and should avoid reading further.

“When Kensuke Adachi is fired from his job for a mistaken order, he is devastated. He withdraws from society and locks himself in his room. His father Kenzo and his sister Yuko are worried but can do nothing besides supporting him. One day Kensuke finds a web site for people who love dressing up in female clothing. Kensuke is fascinated by the drag queen depictions on the site posted by users who proudly display their glamorous alter egos. At first Kensuke thinks the images are demeaning, but gradually he begins to become very interested in the lifestyle depicted on screen.” (from The Montreal World Film Festival program guide)


Kensuke finds a job right after graduating university. He is a shy and clumsy boy, pessimistic and quite unsure of himself, so eventually his mistakes get him fired from his job. He is hurt and becomes withdrawn, refusing to leave his home for five years. This is a phenomenon that the Japanese call “hikikomori”, often seen in bullied children who cannot deal with social interaction by fear of being hurt physically or emotionally. Eventually his disorder evolves into becoming a jyosoko otaku, someone who is obsessed with cross-dressing. This activity will bring him to interact socially again and help him finally find acceptance. He will find himself as well as a comfortable place in society. He will not be afraid of commitment anymore.

Kensuke is not homosexual. He simply likes to wear women's clothing. However, since a gay guy falls for him, the movie also obliquely address the subject of LGBT in Japanese society. If they have rarely encountered as much hate and discrimination as in western culture, Japanese LGBT have more often been subject of ridicule and have now started gaining acceptance. Kensuke situation is therefore similar to the plight of most Japanese LGBT. All in all, this movie is a simple coming of age story.

I must admit that I didn't expect too much from this movie. The previous movies that I've seen from director Shoji Kubota (Lost Love Murder seen at the Montreal Film Festival in 2010 and Crazy-ism seen of the festival in 2011) didn't impressed me at all. I found them rather boring and amateurish. However I was quite surprised to find that The little girl in me is quite enjoyable. It is still a very low budget movie, but this time the acting is excellent (although there was a few scenes at the beginning of the movie where the acting felt awkward, but it was probably to express the discomfort of the characters) and the photography is quite good. I guess the director has grown more experienced and more confident.

The Little Girl in Me (僕の中のオトコの娘 / Boku no Naka no Otoko no ko): Japan, 2012, 100 min.; Dir./Scr./Ed.: Shoji Kubota; Phot.: Kenichi Negishi; Sound: Shigeo Tanabe; Music: Ippei Yogo; Prod.: Tomokazu Koseki, Miho Saito; Cast: Ryoma Baba, Bengaru, Ryûnosuke Kawai, Naoki Kawano (Kensuke), Hôka Kinoshita, Kouta Kusano (Karen), Yuri Nakamura (Yuko), Kiriko Shimizu, Asahi Uchida, Kinuwo Yamada, Yûrei Yanagi. Film screened at the Montreal World Film Festival August 31th, 2012 (Cinema Quartier Latin 15).
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Available on DVD on these websites:

The Little Girl in Me © 2012 “The Little Girl in Me” Film Partners.

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