Krakera: A Piece of Our Life Movie Review

Based on a best-selling manga, this offbeat relationship drama has a wildly uneven tone and a strangely elusive story. But it's still an intriguing mix of offbeat situations and characters.

Passive and shy, Haru (Mitsushima) is annoyed with her brutish boyfriend and dull routine but can't be bothered to change anything. Then one day the bold, friendly Riko (Nakamura) introduces herself in a cafe: "I'm interested in you because you're cute." And Haru isn't quite sure what to make of her. Riko makes prosthetics for a living, and clearly sees that maybe she can help mend Haru's soul. She's probably right about that, but their on-off relationship seriously tests both of them.

At age 26, Ando is an assured and rather indulgent filmmaker, with striking camerawork that adeptly catches settings that offer little space for privacy or dignity. Riko's theory is that it doesn't matter if you are attracted to a man or a woman, as it's about who feels good and makes you feel good. And it seems like Ando is trying to say that the only way to make sense of life is to shake things up a bit.

That's not a particularly original message, but the film has an weightless quality that makes it enjoyable as these two women connect and clash in often silly ways. Much this feels like a tentative exploration of sexuality, even though no one seems to understand anything at all. It's almost as if all of this was frightfully new to Ando, unaware that people have been grappling with these issues for decades on screen. And for a film with such a melancholy tone, it seems odd that there are so many gross-out moments.

Also odd is the fact that some roles (such as Riko's grandmother) are played in drag, although this adds to the bizarro tone. And the central relationship is strangely one-sided, as we're never quite sure why Riko is so interested in Haru. There's a lot of talk about falling in love, but we never actually see or feel it, perhaps because the performances are so simplistic, never breaking the surface. That said, this does add a sense of mystery and fragility to the story.

Cast & Crew

Director : Momoko Ando

Producer : Sakura Momoyama, Keiko Watanabe

Starring : , Eriko Nakamura, Tasuku Nagaoka, Jyonmyon Pe, Ryu Morioka, Shogen, Ken Mitsuishi

Comments

Krakera: A Piece of Our Life Rating

" OK "

Rating: 15, 2009

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