Friday, July 18, 2014

Blindly in love

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.

“Shy and socially inept, Kentaro Amanosizuku, 35, works for the city but lives with his parents, a pet frog and video games as his chief interests. Worried about their son's future, Kentaro's parents look into matchmaking services, seemingly to no avail. Then a nibble. Would Kentaro be interested in meeting their daughter Naoko? A meeting is arranged. Naoko is a beautiful young woman but she is blind. Kentaro is smitten. But Naoko's father has his doubts about Kentaro and the meeting comes to nought. Then, one day, Naoko's mother comes to visit at Kentaro's office. Is he still interested in her daughter?” (Text from the Festival's program)

Kentaro is overly shy (what they call in Japan an “hikikomori”) and, despite having a job and a good income, he has no girlfriend. His parents have tried to match him several time but without success. Their hope gets high when they find a good, suitable match (a woman his age who's still single) but no deal is made at the introduction meeting. His parents are against the match because it is revealed that she's blind and her parents are against the match because he is a simple municipal salaryman. However, they start to spend time together against their parents' will and without their knowledge and they start appreciating each other in many ways. It is not easy, they have to face many obstacles. Kentaro is afraid that he won't be able to protect her as he is so clumsy. An accident occurs, but he is as determined as he is indestructible!

Blindly in love is a very good romantic comedy — which was quite welcomed after screening several depressing movies in the 2013 Montreal's World Film Festival. It was the first “feel good” movie that I was seeing in that edition of the festival, at last, and I was quite happy with it.

The movie seems to imply that parents have a responsibility toward what happens to their kids. But when their kids are in their thirties I think they are just overprotective. It is another movie talking about the hikikomori phenomenon, so it really makes me wonder (like I did in Botchan) if this trend means that there are more cases of those withdrawn (hikikomori) and socially inept young people (dokuo), perhaps because of the increasingly stressful socio-economic situation of Japan, or is it simply because the Japanese are starting to pay more attention to those people in emotional distress?

Anyway, like most good Japanese movies, it was pleasant, entertaining and provoked reflection. And it attracted lots of people since the theatre was three-quarter full. The screening finished a little late because of the Q&A that followed in presence of the director, Masahide Ichii.

Opening for Blindly in love, there was an american short (23 mins) titled Common: “Agnes, a widowed church organist, has her lonely, patterned existence threatened when someone from her past comes back into her life…” A previous lesbian love interest! It felt like a good student movie with an interesting subject but a little slow-developing.

You can see a video on Vimeo (27:08 mins) showing the introduction and Q&A session with director Masahide Ichii, before and after the Montreal World Film Festival's screening on August 28th, 2013 (translation by Dr. Minoru Tsunoda):

Hakoiri musuko no koi ( 箱入り息子の恋 / lit. “Love of a Son who is in the Box” / Blindly in love): Japan, 2013, 108 min.; Dir.: Masahide Ichii; Scr.: Masahide Ichii, Takahiro Tamura; Mus.: Ren Takada; Phot.: Daisuke Sôma; Ed.: Chieko Suzaki; Prod.: Chikako Nakabayashi, Yumiko Takebe; Cast: Gen Hoshino, Kaho, Sei Hiraizumi, Ryoko Moriyama, Ren Osugi, Hitomi Kuroki, Honoka, Shuntaro Yanagi, Miyako Takeuchi, Kanji Furutachi. Film screened at the Montreal World Film Festival August 27th, 2013 (Cinema Quartier Latin 9, 21h20) as part of the “Focus on World Cinema” segment.
For more information you can visit the following websites:

Blindly in love © 2013 “Hakoiri Musuko no Koi” Production Committee

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