A man asks his wife to tone down her obsession for designer clothing with tragic results.
Following his touching performance in Alexander Sokurov’s The Sun, Issei Ogata turns in another exceptional display of solicitous inhibition in Jun Ichikawa’s sublime study of misplaced obsession. Doubling as both a reclusive illustrator and his jazz-playing father, Ogata sensitively conveys the pain of a man whose inability to live up to his appreciation of beauty and pleasure causes him to alienate his adoring wife. He’s well matched by Rie Miyazawa, as both the doomed spouse and the stranger who answers a newspaper advertisement with Vertigo-like connotations. But most impressive is Ichikawa’s use of leisurely lateral tracks as a structural device, which recalls Japanese scroll art while reinforcing the film’s melancholic ethereality.
Simultaneously a beautiful evocation of a struggling couple and lovely film-making.