To celebrate opening night of the festival we are covering the wonderful performances of Japanese starlet, Yu Aoi. She can be seen up on the big screen for the first 2 nights of the festival, in "About Her Brother" and "Flowers" respectively. You can catch Joseph's review of "Flowers" here, or read on below to see first time contributor Karen Michelmore's piece on "About Her Brother".
I don’t know anyone who has a normal family.
Usually there is one crazy cousin somewhere, or sibling who is eccentrically and outlandishly always themselves.
There’s also usually a wide array of personality types, and issues bubbling away, which can combine on occasion into a powder keg of emotion.
'About Her Brother' is no different. It’s pretty real in this way.
It’s the story of a small family in a quiet part of Tokyo.
Three generations of women in one house, and the result of this situation.
"Gingko is a pharmacist and a widow. Her daughter Koharu (Yu Aoi) – and the film’s sometimes narrator - marries and divorces a pretty ordinary doctor. And her mother complains constantly about her own loneliness and lack of companionship. But no one’s listening. But the film isn’t a story about the relationships between these women. They are not really explored in any meaningful way. As the title suggests, it’s all about Gingko (Sayuri Yoshinaga - Kabei Our Mother - 12th JFF) and her alcoholic brother, Tetsuro.
Tetsuro is the kind of person who bumbles through life, blissfully unaware of the mayhem he’s created. Or seemingly so. The 126-minute film – directed by veteran Yoji Yamada – is dotted with comedy from Tetsuro, played by Tsurube Shofukutei (also seen in Dear Doctor - 14th JFF). During one particularly memorable wedding scene, you’ll probably laugh out loud (well I did), as he gets drunk and wreaks a trail of destruction at a rather staid event, much to the horror of guests. He challenges the fuddy-duddy nature of some Tokyo traditions, reminding us in his own unconventional way that it is supposed to be a celebration after all.