Film #37: A Scene at the Sea (1991)

aka: あの夏、いちばん静かな海。(Ano natsu, ichiban shizukana umi.)
directed by: Takeshi Kitano
language: Japanese
length: 101 minutes
watched on: 7 Nov

This film could be fairly described as “lyrical”, although I’ve long thought that that’s just a buzzword that marketers use on the back of DVD covers. The two main characters are deaf, and the guy takes up surfing on a whim, and throughout the film, he and his girlfriend (possibly) gradually make friends with the local surfer bums. And there’s a bit of light comedy thrown into the mix, often just that they haven’t heard something potentially important from another character, or that the guy originally just does not know how to surf.

As this is a film that’s mainly about two deaf characters, it doesn’t have an awful lot of dialogue in it, not even of sign language, which indicates to me that their deafness is more of a metaphor I can’t be bothered deciphering than anything else. They seem to be rather emotionless for basically the whole film; I have a long-lasting impression of them just walking along blankly with a surfboard in hand. I think there’s about one smile from them right at the end.

Gradual is a very good word to describe the thing. It’s quite interesting, but very slow… and it showcases Kitano’s diversity well. So I quite liked it overall.


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