Film #156: A Stitch of Life (2015)

stitchaka: 繕い裁つ人 (Tsukuroi tatsu hito)
Director: Yukiko Mishima
Language: Japanese
Length: 104 minutes
Watched on: 14 July 2015 (3 of 4 on my flight back to Japan)

My flight dragged on, and I sat back down to doggedly watch the third movie in my selection. Having loyally consumed some French cinema and having had mixed results, I thought a Japanese movie for balance might be a good idea. I’d never heard of this movie, but it was the only Japanese movie on offer, and it’s a good opportunity for me to watch movies with subtitles (I have been to the cinema without them before, but I have to psych myself up for it a lot and usually don’t bother).

Probably the reason that I hadn’t heard of it was the boring subject matter: it’s about a dressmaker and the importance of perfect dressmaking… or something. It’s kind of told from the eyes of an awkward mid-20s reporter, whose acting is so wooden I forgot that I wasn’t watching a tree. For some reason he’s obsessed with finding out the secret to the perefct dressmaking technique, that the woman swore on her mother’s deathbed never to reveal – or something. The details escape me, frankly, as the movie only just managed to hold my attention.

What I remember of the movie is a strong adherence to protocol – bowing and greeting guests with the correct keigo at all times. It’s not really true to life here in my experience, although I know that’s not the point. Seeing that stuff committed to film bores me.

It’s sad that I come away from this movie and am tempted to tar all Japanese movies with the same brush – the movie just reminds me of the scant snippets of bad drama that I’ve occasionally accidentally caught on TV here. I was surprised to read later that it’s based on a manga (although I don’t know why, given the breadth of that genre here), presumably meaning that the unnatural stiltedness of all the characters is in-built from the beginning.

Basically, if you do happen to come across it, I don’t think it’s worth it. By the way, that director has a bit of an unfortunate name!

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