Plot: Shou, a twenty-years old studend, is abandoned by his girlfried who gived up, saying that he is undeserving boring man who she never was happy with. Out of grief, Shou is locked up in his appartment drowning in a sea of booze and porn. Unexpectedly, his self-destruction process is interrupted by his father. Dad presents him with the white-boxed ashes of a recently murdered aunt Matsuko, that Shou never knew he had as family rejected her even before his birth. The father explained, that Matsuko is a black sheep, who spent a worthless life and died alone. And as Shou is bored now he wants Shou to clean up the apartment where she spent her final days.
The Matsuko's apartment appears to be even more ukempt than Shou's one - heaps of rubbish, dust, scraps and press clippings filled all of its space. Cleaning up the stuff Shou soon becomes fascinated with Matsuko's past and hoping a mission will give his miserable life renewed purpose he sets about tracking down people she knew in order to find out more. Matsuko had everything in her colourful and tumultuous life, the ups and downs, happiness and disappointments, passages from unfavored schoolgirl to virtuous school teacher, from devoted wife to stripper, abused yakuza moll, murderess, jailbird and mentally disturbed bag lady. Talking to a myriad of her acquaintances Shou piece together the story of long-lost aunt's life.
Japanese Academy Awards - Best Actress (Miki Nakatani), Best Editing (Yoshiyuki Koike), Best Music Score (Gabriele Roberto, Takeshi Shibuya)
Asian Film Award - Best Actress (Miki Nakatani)
Fant-Asia Film Festival - Best Asian Film (Tetsuya Nakashima)
Japanese Professional Movie Awards - Best Actress (Miki Nakatani)
«Memories of Matsuko certainly is dazzling. It is quite a ride, even at a two-hour plus running time, and it contains career-best performances from Nakatani, Yusuke Iseya and A Snake of June's Asuka Kurosawa, who nearly steals the film as an unapologetically sexy convict / porn star / business woman...»
«The film is framed almost like a dark “fairy tale” but Nakashima still manages to infuse his unique sense of visual wonder and comedy into the mix. There are brilliant moments where the film takes on an almost surreal feel--incorporating 2-D Disney-like animation, CGI and elaborate musical numbers which are reminiscent of the film "Moulin Rouge".»
«While the story fails to convince as either humor or drama, perfs are generally strong. Nakatani shines in a variety of scenes, where hair, make-up and costume technicians adapt her beauty to a wide array of styles.»
«I don't want to describe "Memories of Matsuko" glibly. It would be so easy to point out the huge difference between the story's subject matter and the methods used to tell the story in a way that sounds like I'm being sarcastic, comes across as trying to show off how sophisticated I am because I love something off the beaten path, or simply makes it sound distasteful. It's too good a movie for that.»
«If done in a normal manner, this would've been a tearjerking melodrama that might earn tears or snorts of derision, but because this film is so creative in its execution that I'm not just affected by the story, I'm really more awed by the filmmaking from director Tetsuya Nakashima and the other technical aspects of the film.»
«Memories of Matsuko is a magnificent film overall. With the combination of acting, visuals, and music, it essentially provides a journey in which there are no happy endings; rather, it explores notion that the journey is more important. A dark, twisted, and at times humorous film about life, Memories of Matsuko is a film I wholeheartedly recommend.»
«there's a tension between what we are seeing, and what we understand, which gives the film interest. It's rare that one can recommend something to admirers alike of such diverse movies The Life Of Oharu, Amélie or the ironies of Douglas Sirk, but this is one such occasion.»
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