With the 84th Academy Awards inching its way closer, we thought of refreshing your memory about some of the most notable movies from different countries. We started out with something from Italy, and today, we bring you a must-watch from Japan.
Nearly three years ago, I grabbed a copy of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood (Noruwei no Mori), out of curiosity on Ken’ichi Matsuyama’s latest project—the film adaptation of the novel. For my first Murakami read, I found it very easy to read, grasp, and get engrossed with. So, when I found out that a film adaptation was in the works, I was naturally ecstatic to watch it.
Norwegian Wood tells the story of Toru Watanabe during his days as a college student in 1960’s Tokyo. Amidst the chaos of student protests against established order, the 19-year-old Toru falls in love with two very different women: the emotionally unstable Naoko, whom he has known since his younger days; and his attractive outgoing classmate, Midori Kobayashi. With his attention and emotions divided between the two, Toru must somehow make a choice between a complicated past or a hopeful future.
On the surface level, the fact that it’s a film adaptation of Murakami’s work and features a track from The Beatles might be enough to catch one’s interest in this film. However, if you probe deeper, you’ll find an all-star cast, appealing cinematography, and a heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and sexuality. Ken’ichi Matsuyama, one of Japan’s most flexible and fastest rising stars, is one perfectly convincing Toru; Rinko Kikuchi, currently Japan’s only living Academy Award nominee for her performance in Babel, likewise did a great job as the fragile Naoko; Model Kiko Mizuhara is also commendable for her performance as Toru’s impulsive and outgoing classmate, Midori Kobayashi. Under the direction of Vietnamese-French director Tran Anh Hung ( The Scent of Green Papaya ), Murakami’s novel comes to life as a moving rendition for the big screen.
It’s also worth noting that this film competed and participated in several 2010 film festivals, such as the 67th Venice International Film Festival (where it debuted), 35th Toronto International Film Festival, and 5th Asian Film Awards.
Watch the official Norwegian Wood trailer below:
Information for this article were taken from Norwegian Wood (film) on Wikipedia.
Which films do you think are worthy of an OSCAR nod? Leave your comments below! Hopefully, this film will inspire you to create your own feature film with the LomoKino.