Japan / 2012 / 94 Mins / In Japanese with English subtitles / Colour
Starring: Mimpi*β, Izumi Okamura
Out on DVD March 24th, 2014
DVD Special Features
Anamorphic Widescreen transfer with 5.1 Surround Sound
Interviews with director Ryohei Watanabe and actresses Mimpi*β & Izumi Okamura
Because of her last name “Kumada” (bear + rice paddy) and her appearance, Misa’s high school classmates call her “Pooh” disparagingly. She obviously has no friends and can only let down her guard around her pet parrot and the goldfish in the science room at school. But then she finds herself quickly becoming best friends with Izumi, a cute and popular classmate. Although somewhat puzzled by Izumi’s interest in her, Misa is excited about having a friend for the first time ever. But Izumi’s initial angelic demeanor gradually transforms…
I saw Shady at last year’s Raindance Film Festival and I was blown away. It is like a mixture of Shunji Iwai’s school-based films and some dark psychological stuff you would see in Roman Polanski’s films back when he was living in Britain. I was sucked in at the start and gripped all the way through to the finish. What makes it more remarkable is that it is the debut film of Ryohei Watanabe and he made the film at the age of 24. He made it with only a £10,000 budget and yet it looks like a high class film, so refined and beautiful to look at and with great set and sound design and fantastic performances. I am so glad I caught it in a cinema! I thought the film was so good that I have taken to telling all sorts of people at my film club and Japanese class about it and alerting people to its upcoming release.
If you think Japanese cinema is all adaptations of manga and doramas (which it mostly is) then check this out and have your faith restored in the creative talents of Japanese filmmakers! I would consider it one of the best films I saw last year and I recommend that you purchase it!
I’ll get a review up the week after next so I can finish my Top Ten Films of 2013. I wonder where it will land… Hint: higher than three.