Sunday, July 4, 2010

my first taste of eiga sai : GLASSES

japan foundation, shangri-la plaza and UP film institute
present this year's japanese film festival - eiga sai 2010 (in celebration of the philippine-japan friendship month). as always, my newfound movie buddy - irene sy never hesitated to inform and update and ask me to see at least one of the many japanese films to be shown from july 1st to the 11th in shangri-la cinema 4. so i did. and GLASSES (megane) there was.

'the title is a whimsical touch on a whimsical film' so i quote from the flyers given. it was only when i finished watching that i realized why 'glasses' was its english title. all the major characters (taeko: kobayashi satomi, yuji: mitsuishi ken, haruna: ichikawa mikako, yomogi: kase ryo and sakura: motai masako) wear prominent eyeglasses... they looked at the place (a small island in the south of Japan, where there's no cellphone reception) and did their 'twilighting' through it (their eyeglasses).

the story is about a stressed-out career woman who leaves her city life for an island vacation. she brought with her a suitcase of books to be read but she ended up knitting... she expected to be left alone but she ended up lovingly disturbed by the kindness, country-style warmth of the people in the beach hotel - the fresh food eaten by guests and hosts altogether, the famous shaved-ice as a pre-requisite to really being good at 'twilighting' (imho, this is their nickname for daydreaming or reflecting or meditating or just being nothing but one with the sea), the 'merci-exercise' (intriguingly funny and worth trying), and more.

while some of the audience felt the movie was boring, i enjoyed every scene. perhaps it is because i easily have placed myself as one of the characters and already imagined being there--- seeing the sea, tasting the shaved ice (with slow-cooked kidney beans beneath and sugar syrup on top), chatting with them and feeling the the peace and the mystery of it all. i'd keep sakura's words to my heart forever, remember: "it is important not to rush"...the movie was neither heavy nor light (a minimalist even) ...and should i decide to see it again, i'm sure there will still be questions that will be left unanswered in the end.

glasses (megane - japanese title) was nominated for the grand jury prize at the sundance film festival and won the manfred salzgeber award at the berlin international film festival in 2008. as for me, i'm giving the movie-glasses my 3 out of 3 shares of frozen yogurt for a score (or in case, shaved ice *winks*).

(picture from and

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