Aruitemo aruitemo is the newly-released-in-English movie by Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda, director of previous film to grace these pages Dare Mo Shiranai (Nobody Knows). It piqued my interest after hearing reviews on The Guardian Film Weekly podcast, as well as reading an article comparing it to the work of famed Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu- who’s Tokyo Story I plan on seeing very soon.
It’s a beautifully story of two hours- and that time passes by extraordinarily quickly considering nothing really happens. Its a family drama, but without the sensationalised drama of the Western Hollywood norm. Instead, it’s contained, it’s ‘Japanese’, and the tensions simmer and mix as much as the little moments of beauty, humour, and compassion. It’s wonderfully made- so many nuances, so many quirks, in so subtle a piece. This is art- not just Japanese art; it’s the perfect example of the greatness of cinema- a normal, everyday story, told in subtlety and detail, each moment seeming real and full of meaning. The above article compared it to Avatar– the latter apparently representing the death of cinema just as this is ‘what it should be’. But comparison- as the phrase goes- is meaningless, and in this case it really is, for Still Walking and Avatar share nothing in their respective art forms. Not wanting to be too post-modernly nonsensical, but both are good in their ways.
On the other hand, the fact that two hours of this- a story about a son and his new wife and her son visiting his parents- can hold my attention more than soaring 3D blue people and red dragons in Avatar shows the storytelling prowess of Hirokazu Koreeda. Less stark and bleak that Dare mo shiranai, this is equally as compelling, and equally as accomplished.