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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Crying Out of Love, In The Center Of The World...

A well-told tale of tragic romance that, for the most part, avoids the emotional pitfalls typically associated with melodramatic tearjerkers.

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.

When you die, does love die, too? That's the question at the very heart of Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World, the 2004 box office sensation directed by Go's Isao Yukisada. Based on the best-selling romance by Kyoichi Katayama, the film stars Takao Osawa (Sky High) as Sakutaro Matsumoto, a brooding thirtysomething male engaged to the beautiful Ritsuko Fujimura (Kou Shibasaki from One Missed Call). But the seeming normalcy of this happy couple's life is interrupted by an incident straight out of Haruki Murakami's best work. While packing up boxes for a move, Sakutaro's fiancée discovers a cassette tape. After searching the local stores for a Walkman capable of playing the now obsolete technology, she finally listens to the cassette and hears a young girl's voice. Moved to tears by the tape's content, Ritsuko promptly walks out of Sakutaro's life, leaving him with only a cryptic note: "I'm going away for awhile. Don't worry about me."
Confused and unsure of himself, Sakutaro heads to a bar to think things over. By pure chance, he receives an important clue to Ritsuko's whereabouts. While watching a live television report at the Takamatsu Airport during an impending typhoon, he sees his fiancée hobbling around in the background. The location sparks Sakutaro's memory banks, plunging the man's thoughts backwards in time, some seventeen years ago. His current situation, it seems, has origins in the past........

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