Wednesday, July 10, 2013

OTOTO
(ABOUT HER BROTHER)


Eiga Sai 2013
Shang Cineplex Cinema 2


"Blood is thicker than water" is the main theme of this family drama.  Ginko is a widowed pharmacist and her daughter Koharu is getting married to a wealthy doctor.  At the wedding ceremony, Tetsuro who is Ginko's good for nothing brother (the black sheep of the family) shows up drunk and causes quite a ruckus.   In a society where family honor is highly valued, losing face is a great source of disgrace to any family.   Tetsuro is rightfully disowned and 'banished' even though he feels he had a right to be there since he was the one who gave his niece the name Koharu which means Spring Wind.

"Ototo" is directed by Yoji Yamada, the famous director of the Tora-San series of movies. His films are normally about the modern middle class Japanese families. In this film, Yamada explores the strained relationship between the two siblings and its effects on their family. 

Set in a tiny Tokyo suburb as well as some scenes in Osaka, "Ototo" has all the right elements of a typical "telenovela".  Some light comedy with loads of melodramatic moments which eventually turned into a sappy tearjerker but filmed with such quiet restraint.

Yamada directs a solid plot which deals with social issues like the plight of the outcast, the stigma attached to being divorced and the health care of the abandoned. The well developed roles are delivered by a good cast whose emotional quotient is highly evident through their facial expressions.

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