Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
Featured voices: Ryan Bommarito, Shoshana Wilder, Marcelo Arroyo, Scott Humphrey
Based on a selection from Haruki Murakami’s twenty-four story collection of the same name, the animated directorial debut feature of composer Pierre Földes explores the psychologic fallout after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and the subsequent tsunami, on a group of city dwellers.
After five days of binging on TV news footage of the disaster, Tokyo resident Kyoko (Wilder) suddenly decides to leave her banker husband Komura (Bommarito), He in turn takes a week off from work and heads north to deliver a box with undisclosed contents to two young women. Meanwhile Komura’s colleague Katagiri (Arroyo), a socially awkward loner and debt collector returns home to find a two-metre tall frog (voiced by the director) who asks if Katagiri will help save the city from destruction from a supernatural force. Prompted by fantastical visions inspired by the earthquake, the characters reflect on their own lives.
The existential musings accompanied by fantasy sequences illustrating the permeability of reality, along with the dreamily languid feel, are redolent of Richard Linklater’s Waking Life’, although the animation is less impressive here, ranging from the perfunctory to the only occasionally striking. This being Murakami, the characters are the usual combination of melancholy and horny (no jazz stanning here though), so while fans are likely to love it, Földes’ picture is unlikely to appeal outside of the fanbase.
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is released 31st of March
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