I recently landed a role as contributor to V-Cinema and I have reviewed a number of films for the website. I have been something of a fan and enjoyed listening to their podcasts when they have covered Japanese cinema so I’m pretty excited to be a part of the team and helping to highlight Japanese cinema. Writing reviews is something I enjoy doing and I hope people enjoy reading my reviews!
Here’s a snippet of my review of the film A Bride for Rip Van Winkle (2016), the latest from the auteur Shunji Iwai. It is one of three films directed by him at the New York Asian Film Festival which is where he will pick up a lifetime achievement award. You can find more images plus a trailer and a link to the full review further down the post.
A Bride for Rip Van Winkle
リップヴァンウィンクルノ花嫁 「Rippu van winkuru no hanayome 」
Running Time: 180 mins.
Release Date: March 26th, 2016
Director: Shunji Iwai
Writer: Shunji Iwai (Screenplay/Novel),
Starring: Haru Kuroki, Gou Ayano, Cocco, Soko Wada, Nana Natsume, Hideko Hara,
“A Bride for Rip Van Winkle” (2016) is one of three films at this year’s New York Asian Film Festival directed by Shunji Iwai who will be present at the screening to pick up a life-time achievement award. It is a well-earned accolade considering he enjoys a respected international reputation built on a career defined by constant change as he flits between genres, jobs and mediums as demonstrated by his novels, acting, manga, music, and many films. Iwai’s work tend to appeal to women thanks to his preference of having women in lead roles and his stories analysing female characters through slowly and sensitively shared scenes that describe contemporary life.
“A Bride for Rip Van Winkle” centres on Nanami (Haru Kuroki). She works as a part-time junior high school teacher and as a convenience store cashier. She drifts through an apathetic life, mercilessly teased by her students because of her quiet voice and timid ways. The film opens with long sequences in which audiences are given demonstrations of how much of an awkward loner Nanami is: she stands alone in a crowd and avoids looking directly at people. Haru Kuroki plays her as a non-presence dominated by others and her surroundings, a blank space too nervous to leave a mark in a colourful world of swirling energy, a little too helpless at times but never irritating.
You can read the rest of the review on VCinema.