HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Watch List
Giraffe
Kat and the Band
Echo
Perfect 10
Octaman
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Babyteeth
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Peripheral
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
Ice
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Tamango
Traitor, The
Tomorrow
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Moonrise
Mulan
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Wizard of Baghdad, The
Ride
Good Manners
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Sweet Home
Big Score, The
Siddhartha
Three Outlaw Samurai
Echoes of Fear
Guinea Pig, The
   
 
Newest Articles
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights in with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
   
 
  Memories of Matsuko The Meaning Of Life
Year: 2006
Director: Tetsuya Nakashima
Stars: Miki Nakatani, Eita, Yûsuke Iseya, Mikako Ichikawa, Asuka Kurosawa, Gori, Shinji Takeda, YosiYosi Arakawa, Gekidan Hitori, Magy, Shôsuke Tanihara, Takanori Takeyama, Masahiro Kômoto, Nagisa Katahira, Takuzô Kadono, Midoriko Kimura, Mari Hamada
Genre: Musical, Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Shou (Eita) is starting to drift through life, giving up his band and reluctant to get a proper job as his girlfriend tells him she thinks they should break up because he is going nowhere fast, just drinking and watching porn videos all day. But one morning in 2001 he wakes up in bed with a start: his father is kneeling by him, and he has a proposition for his son, something for him to do instead of nothing much. It's the first Shou has heard of it, but apparently his father had an older sister who has recently died and was living as a hermit in a pokey apartment by the river, so what he has to do is clear out the place...

There is a tradition in certain kinds of movies, often of a more artistic bent, to feature a female lead character who suffers hugely for the whole two hours or so it takes the plot to be told then manages through that misery to attain a kind of transcendence so no matter ho badly she has ended the story, she has her moment of redemption, usually spiritual, to make up for it. Some of these works will be lauded as masterpieces such as The Passion of Joan of Arc, others will prove more divisive such as Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark, but there remained something problematic in them, as if their ultimate fate compensated for a terrible life.

Matsuko, the aunt of the title, here played by Miki Nakatani, was one of those whose redemption was spiritual, because everything else that happened to her was the result of men having no idea of how to treat her with any respect or care, and her mental health takes a gradual downward turn which turns to a headlong plunge into utter madness the further she goes on towards her eventual murder, which is being solved as Shou works out the details of her existence. At first he is intrigued by the curious photograph of his aunt that was among the heap of her effects, where she is a teenager pulling a very strange expression, but in flashback every question we have about her is answered eventually.

This might sound like a sombre mope through tragic circumstances, but actually director Tetsuya Nakashima took a different approach, so yes, this was a depressing tale, but he wasn't going to let that stop him creating a wild and exuberant musical out of it. The tunes by Gabriele Roberto and Takeshi Shibuya are really catchy in a pop fashion, presented like the music videos of the day with diversions into more traditional styles Westerners might recognise from Hollywood, but also present a tone which is pulling in two directions at once. Nakashima was no stranger to elaborate setpieces, but applying them to a life which we are told was essentially "meaningless" was a choice which kept proceedings interesting.

Was Matsuko's life as pointless as is said or was being the punching bag of everyone she encountered - sometimes literally - an end in itself? From her childhood where her father dotes over her infirm sister yet barely has a kind word for our heroine, hence the only way she can get a smile out of him is to pull that face, to her career as a schoolteacher which is thwarted when she tries to make excuses for a criminal pupil out of the kindness of her heart and is punished for it, the universe certainly appears to have it in for Matsuko, and the worse things get for her the worse she reacts, even being on the receiving end of violence and giving it out in return. But as bad as this can be, she always has her idealised fantasy life to fall back on, as the only way she can cope with these terrible men in her life who cannot reciprocate her decency is to lose herself in the musical numbers. In the wrong hands this could have appeared spiteful, yet such was the busy, empathetic technique Nakashima employed it was more an indictment of cruel society than a wallow in punishing the protagonist, crucial to the final impression: Matsuko had worth.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1302 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: