Memories of Matsuko
Tetsuya Nakashima/2006/130 min./colour/35mm/R
Starring: Miki Nakatani, Eita, Yusuke Iseya, Teruyuki Kagawa, Mikako Ichikawa
Introduction by Japan Sings! series curator Prof. Michael Raine, University of Western Ontario.
A darkly hilarious film about family—the desire for recognition and the pain of its refusal. Cute digital effects and gaudy musical numbers belie a story of abuse that has much in common with Kenji Mizoguchi’s Life of Oharu. Matsuko (Miki Nakatani of the Ring franchise) is found beaten to death in poor suburb of Tokyo. Alienated from her family, her life is dismissed as meaningless until her loser nephew, tasked with cleaning up her apartment, starts to piece it together. The musical interludes transform everyday exploitation into an ironic utopia that only accentuates the overwhelming emotional suffering of the rest of the film.