I was surprised by how taken with the film “Shady“, especially the performances of the lead-actresses and the skill of the writer and director. This post is full of random things connected to like how to pronounce the name of the lead actress and so forth. Researching these guys made me appreciate how talented they were (after doing this I’m intrigued enough to try my hand at writing about Fumie Nikaido and Shota Somatani). It’s interesting to know these things but hard to put them in a review without going off on a tangent. It’s info on the director and the two lead actresses.
A film like “Shady” simply must be seen. It will grapple with your emotions and when the house lights are put on in the cinema you will want to discuss the plot, the way that Watanabe creates meta references to other films, dupes us into watching a narrative that refuses to follow traditional paths and ends on a rather unsettling note. You will want to discuss how he always finds a way to disrupt meaning and the way the actresses are so perfect in their roles that other actors or actresses could not do what they did. You will want to compare “Shady” to other school films or relationship dramas and probably find them lacking in some way. You will want to discuss “Shady” and re-experience it to confirm what you just saw.
Genki Jason Genkinahito’s J Film Review (March 10th, 2014) – Yeah, I’m quoting myself!
I watch a lot of films and this one was a real stand-out that held me in its narrative grip from start to finish thanks to the excellent writing and direction of Ryohei Watanabe and the performances of lead actresses mimpi * β and Izumi Okamura. It left me breathless and tense throughout its running time. It is an example of perfect filmmaking. I loved it. I loved it so much, it took the top spot of my best films of the year! It even beat Sion Sono’s latest feature, “Why Don’t You Play in Hell?” which is mind-boggling when you consider I’m a huge Sono fan. How good is the film? Am I over-hyping it? Here are quotes from reviews written by others who have seen “Shady” – there is a lot of praise the film and its director Ryohei Watanabe! A word of warning, some reviews give a little away.
You can listen to music composed by the talented and performed by lead actress mimpi * β while looking!
Japanese Title: かしこい狗は、吠えずに笑う
Romaji: Kashikoi Inu wa, Hoezu ni Warau
Release Date: June 22nd, 2013
UK Release Date: March 24th, 2014
Distributor: Third Window Films
Running Time: 94 mins.
Director: Ryohei Watanabe
Writer: Ryohei Watanabe (Screenplay)
Starring: mimpi * β, Izumi Okamura, Isao Nakazawa, Gota Ishida, Ayumi Seko
One would be forgiven for thinking that the Japanese film industry has resorted to producing nothing more than big-budget adaptations of novels, books, and anime and retreads of tried and tested formulas. Original ideas are still alive and kicking, particularly in the indie scene, but sometimes hard to track amidst all of the noise that the bigger releases produce. When an original indie film does make a splash, word spreads quickly over the internet. “Shady” is a prime example.
The first post fellow blogger Alua made for 2013 contained the trailer for this film and I commented on it stating that I liked it. I kept an eye on it and finally got to see it at last year’s Raindance Film Festival and let me tell you what a surprise it was.
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