Memory And Desire

Memory And Desire


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Niki Caro is taking risks with her first feature film. She has Japanese talking English in Tokyo. She kills off her leading man as the opening credits roll. She deals honestly with male sexual inadequacy and how it effects a woman. She chooses sudden death as her theme.

Sayo (Yuri Kinugawa) marries Keiji (Eugene Nomura) against his mother's wishes and for the honeymoon takes a package coach tour to New Zealand. It becomes painfully obvious that Keiji has problems with sex. Sayo is patient, although increasingly hurt. It will take time, she knows, and time is not what she has a lot of. Keiji drowns in a swimming accident, leaving her inconsolable with grief.

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The honeymoon resembles a travelogue and tends to drag. Sayo's post-funeral wanderings are closer to the edge. She returns to the beach where Keiji died and sleeps rough in a cave for weeks. It is a final gesture before insanity, or the law, catches up. Kinugawa allows emotion to shipwreck discipline and throws herself at the mercy of Caro's good faith, but Caro is enthralled by her performance and lets it run. Such acting lightens the darkness and gives a simple, personal film unexpected depth.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Tragedy strikes a couple on holiday.

Director: Niki Caro

Writer: Niki Caro

Starring: Yuri Kinugawa, Eugene Nomura, Midori Takei, Yôko Narahashi, Takeshi Ôbayashi, Brenda Kendall, Norman Forsey, John Hancox

Year: 1997

Runtime: 89 minutes

Country: New Zealand


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