Saturday, April 22, 2006

[SIFF'06] It's Only Talk

This is a thoroughly depressing film, and I mean it in a good way, though weird that it might sound. Tackling the serious issue on manic depression, It's Only Talk manages to ring home the theme and resonate it within you. On the other hand, I didn't like the movie for its effect it had on me, as I certainly did not like the negativity feeling that permeated.

The protagonist is a manic depressive 30-something female named Yuko (Shinobu Terajima), who is an active participant of a manic depression online group, and milked it to come into contact with others suffering from the same illness. Strange people like the cinema sex-pervert and a Yakuza gangster. We also take a look at the relationships she established with her school friend who's suffering from erectile dysfunction, as well as her cousin, who has separated from his wife.

And it is her relationship with the cousin Shoichi (Etushi Toyokawa) that takes up the bulk of the screen time. As Yuko's condition degenerates into severe mood swings with the lack of drugs to control her condition and suppress her emotions, we see the care that Shoichi takes upon himself, to nurse her back to health. During this period, we witness both characters growing in their love for each other, and the realization of brief happiness together. The film moves from the very lows of depressive feelings, to the ecstasy that their company brings.

But what is true happiness? And with depression comes the issue of the will to live. I appreciate the story for showing a different, subtle side of mental(?) illness. That it doesn't take for it to surface explicitly, to show the world that you're suffering. You can be deeply unhappy inside, but on the surface, demonstrate that you're ok, and can actually be a pillar of strength to someone else.

Different people have got different problems and issues to grapple with, but each must find their own solutions, just as we see the guys in Yuko's life having their difficulties, yet trudging on to actually come face to face with those issues, even though at times I felt there were using Yuko for their selfish time-filler reasons.

Filmed in the Kamada neighbourhood (it seemed that the native Japanese folks amongst the audience didn't realize that it existed too) of Tokyo, it has some of the most interesting visuals like the "green elephant" facade of a home, and a made-of-rubber-tyres Godzilla statue. Yuko, being unemployed, spends time exploring the road less travelled, taking pictures with her Sony DSC-W1 (I'm speculating on the exact model, but I have the exact same camera, so...)

Based on the novel by Akiko Itoyama, It's Only Talk highlights the illness of manic depression, but also suggests ways to care for the sufferer through tender loving care, that they too will be able to lead a normal life. Actually everyone does thrive upon TLC given by loved ones. It's positivity that is required, though the narrative ended quite negatively.

I was surprised that the director Ryuichi Hiroki was in attendance, and conducted a brief Q&A session after the movie through a translator. And I shamelessly got an autograph too :-)

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...