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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Su-Ki-Da 好きだ、

Poster of Su-ki-da

Su-ki-da, directed by Hiroshi Ishikawa, is a slow-paced arthouse romance that I watched with Vivienne and Ayumi on the night of Justin's birthday party, we were reduced to groaning in agony as the film became too slow and, as said by Variety's review, selfishly inert.

Despite being a filmmaker myself, and yes, facing numerous snide accusations of being 'artsy fartsy', I still think of myself to be rather uncultured, I didn't 'get' Godard's 'My Life To Live' (I loved Alphaville though), and I wasn't blown (sorry) away by Antonioni's 'Blow-Up' (... despite the nudity) and his latest short film in Eros (despite even more nudity). I also didn't 'get' many Malaysian indie works that are lauded by film fests around the world. Maybe I am... slow. (but not THAT slow, since I can still enjoy Wong Kar Wai films, haha)

So, for me, sitting through Su-Ki-Da was quite tough (especially during a party!!). Especially with a film filled with jump cuts, cryptic silences, shots of various cloud formations and long takes bereft of movement.

Miyazaki Aoi in Su-Ki-Da

Story's about a pair of 17-year-olds, Yosuke (Eita), who is constantly playing a plaintive, unfinished tune on his guitar, while Yu (Miyazaki Aoi) has the hots for him, but does nothing but hangs around with him, and occasionally confides in older sis (Oyamada Sayuri), who is forever stuck in the kitchen... cooking.

So, the entire first half of the film is like this.

- Yosuke sits at the grassy fields, playing that tune.
- Yu sits there and watch.
- Shots of clouds.
- Shots of scenery.
- Yu goes home and speaks to older sis.
- Shots of clouds.
- Shots of scenery.
- The next day... the cycle repeats.

It's entirely introspective, a mood piece, atmospheric, you are supposed to FEEL the poetry of nothingness, its bland listlessness should be interpreted as well-depicted realism. It is like reading a Haruki Murakami book, but without the annoying surrealism.

Anyway, nothing occurred between the two (BOOOOO!). Seventeen years later, the duo met again, Hidetoshi Nishijima plays the older Yosuke and Hiromi Nagasaku plays the older Yu. Unfortunately for us, things remain just as excruciatingly slow, with a random tragedy that struck in the end.

Miyazaki Aoi and Eita in Su-ki-da

Yeah, Su-ki-da has nice scenery

There is a scene in the middle of the film where there's a really long take of Miyazaki Aoi's Yu shortly after she confessed her love for Yosuke. Yosuke remained offscreen, we see a range of emotions displayed by her throughout the scene, from initial shyness, to barely concealed joy and excitement, to heartbreaking disappointment. Marvellous acting.

The scene would be replicated later by her older counter part Hiromi Nagasaku.

As much as I seem to be complaining about this film. There are moments that linger.

Su-ki-da trailer