Thursday, November 18, 2010

(Zero Focus) Drama Of My Life - Samson

Wicked Wednesday continues with Samson's look at "Zero Focus", which stars a wealth of talented Japanese actresses. Check out his thoughts on "Dear Doctor" also on the JFF blog. Remember to stay tuned to the blog over the next week as we will have live reports from the festival and even a few giveaways.

"If I were to make a film about my life right now, Zero Focus would be a most appropriate title. But no, the Japanese film Zero Focus is not about some dude who is overworked, underpaid, struggling to juggle multiple commitments, while trying to watch as many good films as possible, all resulting in chronic sleep deprivation and therefore a pathologically shortened attention span. Instead, it is a suspense mystery drama.

The main character is Teiko (Ryoko Hirosue, recently featured in the JFF Newsletter), a newly married beautiful young woman who has found happiness in her life. This turns out to be short-lived, however, as her husband fails to return after leaving home for work in another city. So Teiko goes on a journey to find her husband, and in doing so learns a lot that she did not know about him...

"Zero Focus" wasn’t really what I expected. Having read the synopsis and seen the keywords ‘suspense’ and ‘mystery’, I was expecting a movie that has an intricate web of plot twists culminating in a climax with a final revelation that would just blow me away. "Zero Focus" is not like that. Very early on in the film, viewers get to find out what happens to Teiko’s disappeared husband and not before long, it becomes obvious who is responsible for his disappearance. So if you watch this film expecting an exciting whodunit thriller, you may be disappointed.

As a drama, however, this film is certainly a success, thanks to the great performances by all three of the lead actresses - Ryoko Hirosue, Miki Nakatani (Memories of Matsuko – 12th JFF) and Tae Kimura (All Around Us – 13th JFF). Lead actress Ryoko Hirosue is certainly on a hot streak at the moment. Following the success of the Oscar-winning Departures, she has starred in a number of major productions. Just look at how many films showing at this year’s Japanese Film Festival have her starring in them, and you will get an idea how hot she is right now. In "Zero Focus", she plays Teiko with an innocence and naivety that are truly believable. The other two main actresses also give solid performances. Miki Nakatani is most credible in her performance as the wife of a tycoon, while Tae Kimura has a smaller role as a receptionist but her acting here is no less impressive.

"Zero Focus" is a movie worth seeing even just for the acting alone. Viewers who like fine dramas will enjoy it, while fans of Ryoko Hirosue should put this on their must-see list, as the actress plays a much bigger role here than say in Goemon (13th JFF) or even Departures (12th JFF). And if unlike me, you have previously read the original novel by Seicho Matsumoto, on which this picture is based, I will be most interested in hearing what you think about the film!" - by Samson Kwok

Thanks to Samson for his great entries on the blog. If you are attending the festival next week, feel free to write up about it, from what you expect from the films to what you thought of the experience. Send it to us here at the blog and you may just get featured! All entries should be sent to

See you at the festival.

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