At last year’s Terracotta Far East Film Festival I saw Be My Baby, a small independent film made by a workshop on a tiny budget and starring a bunch of unknown and rather inexperienced actors. The low-budget film was an acting tour-de-force and an example of smart directing making the most of minimal resources.
Be My Baby is a satirical story about a group of young, rough, and broke guys and girls who follow gyaru culture at a house party from hell and the fallout from that experience which leads to developing relationships, dirty secrets, terribly embarrassing revelations, and the exposure of how emotionally fragile, lonely and desperate these characters are. It’s twisting, talky, and at times tiring keeping track of the bed-hopping and shifting allegiances but there’s a lot of substance and the film is a real expose of one part of Japanese youth culture struggling with part time jobs and no expectations. This is a great example of ‘workshop’ filmmaking which is popular in Japan and, let me state again, the acting is phenomenal. I met some of the cast before the film and seeing the transformation in clothes, physicality, and speech was remarkable. Here’s my review of Be My Baby恋の渦 (2013) which goes into more detail about what I felt watching the film.
Third Window Films are going to release the film at the end of next month. Here are the details:
BE MY BABY
Directed by Hitoshi One (Moteki – Love Strikes)
A special ‘workshop’ film from Japan. Made by an actors’ workshop featuring all newcomers under the supervision of a veteran director, all made in just 4 days for a budget of less than $10,000!
Japan / 2012 / 138 Mins / In Japanese with English subtitles / Colour
Starring newcomers: Chihiro Shibata, Naoko Wakai, Yuumi Goto, Yuki Ueda, Aya Kunitake, Kenta Niikura, Daisuke Sawamura, Kenta Enya
On DVD May 25th
DVD Special Features:
‘Girls Talk’ – Pajama party with female cast of the film
Interview with producer Masashi Yamamoto
Unfolding in the two weeks following a casual party at the home of the overbearing Koji, nine “20-something” Japanese revellers with long, deeply entwined histories navigate the secrets and lies of contemporary relationships. Touching on issues of self-respect, emotional manipulation, casual viciousness, petty interpersonal politicking, dependency, insecurity, infidelity and misogyny, One Hitoshi’s drama is as dark as it is soapy — with unfortunately recognisable characters with recognisable human flaws.
Directed by Hitoshi One
Original Story and Script by Daisuke Miura
Producer : Masashi Yamamoto
Director of Photography: Futa Takagi, Yasuyuki Ozeki, Hitoshi One
Sound mixer: Masayuki Iwakura, Takuro Kouchi
Music: Taisei Iwasaki
Editor: Yasuyuki Ozaki
The Japan Times – Top 10 Films of the year
YesAsia – Top 10 Films of the year
Eiga Geijutsu – Top 10 Films of the year
23rd Japan Film Professional Awards – Honourable Mention for New Actors
8th Five Flavours Film Festival – Winner People’s Jury Award