Previously at the ICA - Films

Sawako Decides, Dir. Yuya Ishii, 2010, © PFF Partners 2010

Sawako Decides

8 Jul 201121 Jul 2011

Yuya Ishii, at only 28 years old and with Sawako Decides, his 6th film, is a major new voice of the younger generation in Japan. Refining his immaculate comic timing, and intuitive understanding of what makes his young, often female, protagonists tick, Ishii demonstrates a real affinity for absurdist comedy rooted firmly in the realities of everyday life.

Previously seen in the UK in Sion Sono’s Love Exposure, lead actress Hikari Mitsushima elevates her role from what, in less nuanced hands, could easily have been simply quirky, to something approaching sublime. She manages to express an inner-life of uncertainty and frustration which makes this film poignant, fascinating and unbelievably funny to boot.

Having run away from her home town to Tokyo with the captain of the local tennis team five years earlier, things haven’t quite worked out as she planned. Seemingly stuck in life, and sublimating her desire for change into drinking vast quantities of beer and coping with her constant constipation, she worries her life is disappearing before her eyes. But when she gets a call informing her that her father is gravely ill, she finds a hereto hidden fortitude. With her latest boyfriend in tow, whose only redeeming feature is that he knits his own slippers, she returns home, where things really take a turn for the worse. Thrown into running her father’s failing clam business, with an alienated workforce poised to stab her in the back, Sawako has a big decision to make which will have you holding your breath and willing her to win the day with every fibre of your being.

Dir. Yuya Ishii, 2010, Japanese with English subtitles, 15 cert, 112mins

Cast: Hikari Mitsushima, Ryo Iwamatsu 

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