Saturday, July 14, 2012


Eiga Sai 2012
Shang Cineplex, Cinema 4

I figure the title of the film is in reference to the permanent nature of perms, being that it is the name of the beauty parlor owned by the mother of Naoko, the central character. After her recent divorce, Naoko returns to her home town with daughter Momo. During her spare time, she helps out in the salon. She seems to fit perfectly as most of the relationships of the inhabitants don't last longer than the average hair perm.

It's a cheeky little comedy with quirky characters that provide more sting than your average film. It has an amusing yet somewhat puzzling plot. Set in a small coastal town with picturesque serene scenery, it has a laid back tone. Yet you have a myriad of characters mostly patrons of the salon whose dialogue are pretty risque. There are senior citizens talking about their hot dates and discussing graphically the length of their dates genitalia, young women are talking about abortions and married women are rather unperturbed about the infidelity of their husbands.

The director presents a happy, up-beat community of people that deal with their problems as if they were merely little bumps in the road. Everything in this film is made to make us feel as if we were watching a regular, run-of-the-mill Japanese drama, but when you listen, or in this case read the subtitles, you will notice the off kilter dialogue and that is where most of the laughter is drawn.

With fast-paced flashbacks and comical situations, the first part is mostly amusing to watch. But there is much more to the film than just its comedic parts, the dramatic scenes come creeping in with much subtlety. It involves a blossoming romance between Naoko and her former science teacher. The relationship suddenly unravels as a twist is sprang upon the unsuspecting audience. The film ends with a bizarre conclusion that will either fill your head with numerous questions or you simply shrug and accept it with nonchalance.

Still, this manga adaptation manages to keep a good balance between comedy and drama and amuse us with its zany bunch of characters.

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