Au Revoir l’ete will be getting a UK release courtesy of the film company day for night. Even though the film was screened at last year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival and I was aware that it was picked up for UK distribution but lost track of it after that. Thankfully a kind reader named Rachel Amandus alerted me to a future screening and that got me doing some rummaging around the internet for information to make this post!
Au revoir l’ete
Japanese: ほとり の 朔子
Romaji: Hotori no Sakuko
Running Time: 125 mins.
Release Date: January 18th, 2014
Director: Koji Fukada
Writer: Koji Fukada (Screenplay)
Starring: Fumi Nikaido, Mayu Tsuruta, Kanji Furutachi, Taiga, Ena Koshino, Makiko Watanabe, Kiki Sugino
Fumi Nikaido takes the lead as an eighteen-year-old girl named Sakuko. She’s a ronin student who is preparing to take her university entrance exam after flunking her previous one. She visits her aunt Mikie (Tsuruta) who is house-sitting in a sleepy coastal town house where she meets her aunt’s childhood friend (and ex-lover) Ukichi (Furutachi). He manages the local love motel and lives with his daughter Tatsuko (Sugino) and his nephew Takashi (Taiga) who is from Fukushima and working at the motel. Sakuko gets involved with everyone’s lives and a web of relationships evolves throughout the summer…
Au Revoir L’ete was originally released in January 2014 and since then it has been touring the festival circuit for a while (Rotterdam, Edinburgh), as mentioned earlier, and during its travels it has picked up all sorts of awards and reviews that tell stories of adulation (Japan Times) and frustration (the Hollywood Reporter. The mix of views all seems to stem from whether one likes meandering tales of people navigating complicated relationships. The subtle execution and languid tone strike a balance between Japanese cinema and the French New Wave with Eric Rohmer’s name being name-checked. I’m a fan of Rohmer’s works and one of my earliest posts (and briefest) on this blog was about his passing so I’m totally looking forward to seeing this one.
Au Revoir l’ete stars a whole group of talented Japanese actors with the astonishingly brilliant Fumi Nikaido taking the lead. She has impressed me in everything I have seen her in, from Himizu where she portrayed an immature school girl facing great adversity, to the most recent title I have seen her in Watashi no Otoko where she blew me away as a young woman shaped into a lover by a predatory older guy and ultimately ensnaring him while being broken herself. Her performances hold profound depths of despair and hope without the need to overact and spell everything out for the audience and this makes a great lead for a film of this type.
She has support from excellent actors like Kanji Furutachi (The Woodsman and the Rain, the crazy curry cook in Fuku-chan of Fukufuku Flats), Ena Koshino (The Cowards Who Looked to the Sky and indie gem About the Pink Sky), Taiga (The Kirishima Thing and a small part in Watashi no Otoko) and Makiko Watanabe (Love Exposure). The film’s producer is Kiki Sugino and she also has a role and that is as the daughter of Ukichi. She’s a director in her own right and has produced some interesting-looking films like Chigasaki Story.
Anyway back to the release details, the film will be screened at:
The film will then be available to watch on the website via the distrify platform from April 24th. That’s how I’m going to watch it. Expect a review.