Friday, July 15, 2016

The Little House

Eiga Sai 2016
Japanese Film Festival
Cinema 2, Shang Cineplex


Upon the death of his grandmother Taki, Takeshi discovers the last few pages of her memoirs. In fact, he was the one who encouraged her to write about her colorful life as a maid in an affluent household. These are shown in flashbacks as a young Taki assumes her duties in the little house. A bungalow with a distinct red roof in Tokyo, whose owners are a manager in a toy company and his stay at home wife, Tokiko together with their young son.  

The flashbacks cover the period before and during the second World War and are shot mostly inside the abode. These scenes are presented with a pinkish tone probably to give it a nostalgic vibe of  highly volatile era.

It is only when the subject of adultery enters the picture when this predictable film pulses beyond its averagely low key tone. Although the adultery is merely implied, the impact on Taki's conscience is I believe the pivotal point of the film. This is manifested through an older Taki who gets quite emotional when she recalls that secret she had to hide for all those years.

Good acting from the female leads uplift the multi-dimensional layers of their characters. But the sanitized approach of tackling the political and historical elements of the story is quite disappointing. It fails to capture the essence of that era as depicted through the eyes of an upper middle class Tokyo family living in their little red roofed house.

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