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A Scene At The Sea [DVD] [Blu-ray]
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Japanese drama written and directed by Takeshi 'Beat' Kitano. Shigeru (Kuroudo Maki) and Takako (Hiroko Oshima) are a young couple who were both born with hearing impairments. Their lives are dramatically changed when garbage collector Shigeru finds a broken, old surfboard and becomes determined to learn the sport. After getting over his early struggles and the heckles of the locals, Shigeru is given a wetsuit by the owner of a surf shop who also enters him in an upcoming competition. As his surfing prowess improves as a result of his dogged determination, Shigeru risks losing the love of Takako.
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The soundtrack is out of this world and compliments the movie very well, Joe Hisaishi (the composer) truly understood the melody silence would produce if it made a sound. Very breathtaking indeed!
- A STORY ABOUT 2 DEAF LOVERS -
The movie is what you'd expect from the title; a "silent" movie, with sounds of the background cast, ocean and nothing more.
Dialogue isn't needed to guide us or captivate the story, all we understand is Shigeru (a garabage man) finds an old broken surf board and wants to learn surfing.
He also has his loyal girlfriend Takako, she's always by his side supporting his every move and at times helping him from his mistakes as Shigeru can sometimes have clueless moments.
This movie is a rare gem and although it might not be for everybody due to the sparse dialogues and slow pace you will reward yourself with multiple viewings from scenery, actors expressions and an artistic composition that will have you hitting the gym for romance.
The story tells of a young, deaf, disenchanted garbage-collector who one day finds a ruined surf-board lying amidst some rubbish. This inspires the boy to become a great surfer, and with the help of a young deaf girl, he gradually becomes more skillful as time progresses, their love blossoming during the course of the movie.
The camera work is extremely sedate and eveloping, managing to capture the calmness of the sea. The characters do not speak, yet the story never seems to drag at all, with each scene drawing the viewer steadily into this very attractive and insular world that they inhabit. The music, scored by Joe Hisiashi, has a very static, timeless quality to it - a mixture of marimba, synthesizers, piano & string instruments manage to convey the atmosphere of the film exceedingly well, with the main theme song capturing the extremely meloncholy feel of the film.
This is one of the most beautiful, haunting films you will ever see.
Firstly, this is an excellent film, but it is no all-action surf movie - so don't even think about buying it if you want to see tsunami-sized breakers and tunnel-shots! The surf gets to about three feet (at most) and the beaches are mostly black ash: an interesting contrast to the more familiar North Cornwall coast! It is also fascinating to see the Japanese take on surf culture - it is recognisable, but very different at the same time. In my opinion, you'll get more from this film if you have an awareness of Japanese culture and enjoy films of a "world cinema" genre. There are things you might like to be prepared for and accept as part of the much bigger picture, some of which aren't exclusive to Japanese films, of course.
Typically, the visual aspect is often more important than the narrative: there is very little dialogue and, when the film concentrates on the two main characters (both of whom are deaf), there's no sound. You experience what the characters experience, although I didn't notice this at first. You might find that some of the acting seems to be improvised or un-rehearsed; some dialogue might appear to be unnatural (especially the comments of the surfers about the main character, Shigeru, as he attempts to teach himself to surf with a broken board). I think, though, that this is because most films are over-rehearsed and over-directed in comparison (or at least closely controlled). Life is, on the whole, pretty slow-paced (dull, even) compared to the action films we are used to watching.
There is plenty of comedy, a lot of which is very subtle. I'm no Japanese expert, but I know that there are things I laughed out loud at that would go over many heads. (I have the opposite problem with Shakespeare - I can't understand it at all, yet those around me seemed to think it hilarious!) I especially enjoyed the antics of the two "friends" who began surfing when they started to think that they were missing out on something, and made more of a mess of learning than Shigeru did - wetsuit put on backwards and tripping over the board leash (which makes Shigeru laugh in the same way that others laughed at him) and they even turned up to a competition they'd not entered. Shigeru's acceptance into the group is touching, even though he is still clearly out of place, and his eventual success is inevitable. His totally dedicated girlfriend Takako stays with him despite hardly ever even being acknowledged. There are parallels of a stereotypical, old-fashioned Japanese role-model of the wife that you see in Ozu films; she picks up and organises clothes for him, walks behind him when they're out "together" and sits waiting patiently for him to return.
And just as things are all coming together nicely, the ending brings a totally unexpected twist ... but I'll not spoil that for you! You'll just have to buy it and see.
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I agree with Ryan, it is one of the most beautiful films you will see, but it cannot be compared to Dolls and Hana-Bi [DVD] .Read more
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