Yesterday thanks to my friend Kaori, I was brought to attend a “sneak preview screening” by the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Japan at Yurakucho. Before the Q&A session with celebrated actress-turned-director Hitomi Kuroki, we spent the first one and a half hours watching her first self-directed film “Desperate Sunflowers” which I think was one of the best coming-of-age films I’ve ever watched in Japan. Trying not to be a spoiler here, I’ll skip through the entire plot and give you a rough idea of the themes and values I found myself pondering over while watching the film. Hence I present you:
“Desperate Sunflowers” or 嫌な女
1. This is a film about Women
Most movies tend to focus on men or at the very least ladies who are in their mid-20s. Rarely do we come across a film that revolves around the life stories of women. Not only are the protagonists in Desperate Sunflowers women, but they are women of mid 30s-40s whom are still finding ways to come to terms with their own lives. If you’re a strong feminist, you’ll definitely want to watch this.
2. Dealing with “Emptiness and Insecurity”
Regardless of age, class or gender, we all have this sense of emptiness within us. Therefore in seek of meaning, we try to get into the best universities, to find and marry a loving partner, raise a family etc but yet till the very end of our lives, there’s still always gonna be a sense of insecurity within us. But the question is: How can we deal with it?
3. Kinship over differences
In the movie, you will find two characters, Tetsuko and Natsuko who were bonded to one another as cousins yet possessing almost opposite dispositions and temperance. One grew up to be a bubbly scammer, and the other a successful yet unhappy lawyer. We will see “the lives of these two contrasting characters vividly depicted, capturing the strength and camaraderie of women in both comical and movingly dramatic fashion”.
There were many tear jerking narratives and events throughout the movie, that eventually brought the transition of a cold-blooded and isolated person into a kinder and more compassionate lady. How can one feel and develop empathy for people around them? The film has some answers to it.
5. We are both sunflowers and suns.
If the sun is responsible for the vitality of a sunflower, who is responsible for bringing out the best in us? In the end, we see that no matter how despicable a person can be to us, there’s always a brighter side in them that we can learn from and that we are all capable of being both the “receiver” and the “giver”.
Projected Release in Japan.
Just before the press conference ended, Kaori raised her hand and asked two questions to Hitomi Kuroki and I thought they were really thought-provoking.
- What was Mrs. Hitomi Kuroki intending to represent through the contrasting of characters, scenes, themes and so on as we see in the film?
- What personal messages did she want to convey to the audience by directing this movie?
Well her answer is::::: kinda long and in Japanese so I didn’t manage to copy it down lol but the good news is:
The movie’s gonna be out on the 25th of June in Japan, (and maybe world wide) so don’t miss it!