Thought provoking film
I saw this film last week, and I'm still thinking about it. Just theother night the image of the landlady with the cat in her arms standingin the doorway of the chaotic apartment the kids were living in andthen just walking away came into my mind. Thinking of a pet store Ivisited in Japan that had gourmet treats and designer "clothes", and aspecial salon for their haircuts. Are pets treated better thanchildren?
I wonder if Kore-eda was also making a critique of the young women whohave been raised to be "kawaii"(cute) and child-like, and used tohaving their parents do and buy things for them. The result, like themother in this film, is a mother who is unable to mature into a grownwoman, and who feels incomplete without a man. She also put her ownneeds over her children's, which is extremely repugnant to most people,but imagine in Japanese society, where the concept of "gaman" has beenso admired, how loathed and despised this mother would have been.
Interesting to read the actual events as well. I wonder if the film hadpresented the mother as having been lied to and abandoned with a smallbaby by her first partner would that have changed the audienceperception of her culpability? I felt she was a victim as well--evenw/out knowing any details, I just felt no one who had a happyupbringing would abandon their children like that.
I also felt the kids were too good to be true at the beginning, notimagining that kids would be able to live so tidily and manage all theadult affairs with no one to guide them. However, perhaps that was aneffective way to show the decline as time went on.
Now I am still left with the lingering feeling...what happened to them?Part of the problem was that the solution meant they would be separatedfrom each other. What happens to these kids in Japan? Where family andkoseki is so important, how do they get along in society?
Anyway, an excellent film--the child actors were amazing.