Netemo sametemo (Asako I & II) 2018 Ages 15+
7.45PM Wed 9 Jan 2019 (1hr 59mins)
GOMA | Cinema A | Free
‘Asako I & II begins with love at first sight: College student Asako (Erika Karata) locks eyes with the dashing Baku (Masashiro Higashide) at a photography exhibit, and within minutes of exiting the gallery, they’ve fallen into each other’s arms. Moments later, they’re a happy couple, seemingly incapable of conflict, as if universe willed them together.
If this sounds ludicrous, you’re not alone. “Nobody meets like that!” says Asako’s close pal Haryuo (Sairi Ito), and her suspicions come to bear moments later, when Baku suddenly abandons Asako with no explanation. Years later in Tokyo, Asako thinks she spots Baku working at a sake business near the café where she’s a barista. But it’s actually Ryohei (also played by Masashiro), a genial, soft-spoken young man confused by Asako’s sudden advances. No matter: Asako starts dating the guy anyway, but doesn’t tell him about the physical similarities to an old flame that drew her to him in the first place.
This remarkable setup forms the central romantic mystery of Japanese director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s new feature: As Asako builds her life with Ryohei, she maintains a secret obsession with the man from her past, and it’s unclear if she actually cares for the new guy or uses him as a placeholder.
[The film] never less than an exquisite showcase for nuanced performances and a filmmaker in complete control of idiosyncratic material. The talky romance that wouldn’t look out of place in Eric Rohmer’s oeuvre, and suggests what might happen if the New Wave auteur attempted to revise Vertigo with a fresh context. Hamaguchi’s ninth feature in 12 years confirms he’s one of the most innovative filmmakers in contemporary Asian cinema.’ Indiewire
HD VIDEO, COLOUR, DOLBY, 119 MINUTES, JAPAN, JAPANESE (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR: RYÛSUKE HAMAGUCHI / SCRIPT: SACHIKO TANAKA, RYÛSUKE HAMAGUCHI / BASED ON THE NOVEL BY TOMOKA SHIBASAKI / CINEMATOGRAPHER: YASUYUKI SASAKI / EDITOR: AZUSA YAMAZAKI / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: MK2 / SCREENING FORMAT: DCP