Sunday, 22 February 2015

It Only Happens in the Movies? Japanese Cinema and Encounters: All About Our House

Have you ever wondered the complications of owning your own house in Japan? Well this film explores BUILDING your own house and all the processes to get to living in your own dream home. Part of the Japan Foundation's Touring Film festival: It Only Happens in the Movies? Japanese Cinema and Encounters - All About Our House - written and directed by Koki Mitani (The Uchoten Hotel, Once In a Blue Moon).

We follow the married couple Naosuke (Naoki Tanaka) and Tamiko (Akiko Yagi) who decide to build a new house from scratch instead of renting (society norm), recruiting a trendy young interior designer, Mr Yanagisawa, to plan, and Tamiko’s retired-carpenter father to build. However, not too long there is a culture clash between the innovative ideas vs the sturdiness of the house foundations and the plans of there 'contemporary' house has now become rather traditional instead. The project begins to move from their and Mr Yanagisawa dream home to Tamiko's fathers last project doing as he pleases and poo pooing any new ideas.

It's great seeing the team of builders a bunch of elderly men working together with such vigour and joy and doing a great job to ignore the Naosuke's. The best argument that is underlined through the whole film is that of the front door opening out or in. Out is a sign of American architecture but the builders want a traditional Japanese house. This is almost the deciding factor of Mr Yanagisawa quitting.

It shows two sides of the coin and should promote compromise or a fusion of two styles but doesn't the father is set on his ways and despite his daughter not wanting a tatmi (Japanese room) he makes sure to make the room double the original quoted size to spite her. It is funny watching the quarrels but there isn't much development.

I liked the holy rituals to purify the land and to bless the house as it gives an insight into Jpanese tradition and culture. All in all the house is finally built, the foundation is sturdy and has a little artistic flair including some rare bamboo tiles that Mr Yanagisawa suggests and actually impresses the builders.

Catch the cinema on the big screen in Edinburgh Filmhouse and Nottingham Broadway in March.

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