Tuesday 9 March 2010

Still walking; still talking

Still Walking is a film in which nothing happens and everything happens. I'm a sucker for Japanese films anyway, often because they undermine the stereotype we have of formality and reserve. Hirokazu Kore-eda's gentle and absorbing film about a day in the life of an extended Japanese family is a gem. We slowly comprehend the family history, and we begin to recognise the unspoken rules and the tiny signifiers that carry such enormous weight. Not to mention the dissonance between what is spoken and what is meant. And a lot of words are spoken. It was often difficult to keep up with the density of the subtitled dialogue and the on-screen action (not that the word 'action' is a useful word in the context of this film). But no matter as this is a film that merits a second viewing.

It was at once both Japanese and universal. It's one of the strengths of film that we can recognise ourselves in the lives of others, and one of the joys of Borderlines that we are given so many opportunities to do so.

1 comment:

BLURT said...

Interestingly David Gillam, Festival Director, remarked to me the other day that if any films in this year's programme endure (to be talked about in years to come) his money's on Still Walking.

I thought it made Departures, which I enjoyed to a certain extent, seem overblown in comparison.