Romeo-san and Juliet-chan
"Crying Out Love in the Center of the World" is an unabashedly melodramatic but meticulously and sweetly made Japanese story of doomed young lovers.
By JOSHUA TANZER
If every sentimental, audience-manipulating, tear-jerking romance picture were like "Crying Out Love in the Center of the World," it would give sentimental, audience-manipulating, tear-jerking romance pictures a good name.
Japan's most popular non-animated film of 2004 is as meticulously constructed as a good thriller, but its twists and turns, leaps forward and backward in time, and puzzle pieces that emerge long before they fall into place, don't lead to a murder or an international conspiracy they attempt merely to tell us something true about love.
|CRYING OUT LOVE IN THE CENTER OF THE WORLD|
|Directed by: Yukisada Isao.|
Written by: Sakamoto Yuji, Yukisada Isao.
Adapted from a novel by: Katayama Kyouichi.
Cast: Osawa Takao, Shibasaki Kou, Nagasawa Masami, Moriyama Mirai, Amami Yuki, Sugimoto Tetta, Miyauchi Kankuro, Tsuda Kanji, Sakano Dandy, Kondo Yoshimasa, Kiuchi Midori, Morita Yoshimitsu, Tanaka Misato, Watanabe Misato, Yamazaki Tsutomu.
Cinematography: Shinoda Noboru.
Edited by: Imai Takeshi.
Related links: Official site
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We start with a young couple watching a raging rainstorm batter the lush greenery outside it's "Typhoon #29," they note with seeming melancholy. Suddenly, the man having this dream jolts back to reality in his office on a Saturday morning. It's still raining outside, but that's all that's the same he's much older now than the young lover of the dream, and seemingly much more joyless in his regulation white shirt and black pants on the office sofa.
Arriving home, Saku finds only a note from his fiancˇe: "I'm going away for a while. Don't worry about me. Ritsuko." She's unearthed a mysterious cassette tape labeled 1986 but he doesn't know that. He tells his best friend and regular bartender, who originally fixed the two of them up. "A note! That's bad!" the friend exclaims. "You write a note if you elope! Or double-suicide!"|
The truth will prove more complex than either of these options. Many threads tie the present to the past more tapes, a wedding picture, the spirit of a dead girl that still haunts her old school, and a forgotten old Sony Walkman. Even Ritsuko holds part of the buried secret that haunts Saku, and only by returning to his hometown on Shikoku island will he come to terms with the tragedy of a long-ago love, and incidentally figure out what happened to his fiancˇe.
The Japanese are said to have fallen for this movie hard as the foremost example of the "jun ai" ("pure love") craze, and it's easy to see why. It idealizes a kind of big, young, innocent love mixed with tragedy in fact, "Crying Out Love" openly refers to "Romeo and Juliet" as the model for its story. More than that, it's finely written and crafted. It's an ideal date movie, whether you and your date come out engaged by its intelligence, mesmerized by the scenery, or just simply thinking it was sweet a good enough reason by itself.
|APRIL 10, 2005|
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Reader comments on Crying Out Love in the Center of the World:
hi from aiko, Jan 31, 2007
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