Undulant Fever 2014
Umi wo kanjiru toki (original title)
1h 58m | Drama | 13 September 2014 (Japan)
High school student Emiko (Yui Ichikawa) meets an older student named Yo (Sosuke Ikematsu) in the high school newspaper club. One day, Emiko is kissed by Yo and they have sex impulsively. Since that time, whenever Emiko, who does not know love, sees Yo, she asks him to have sex. As time goes by, Yo moves away to attend college in Tokyo. Meanwhile, Emiko works at a flower shop just because she wants to be close to Yo. Emiko is hurt by Yo’s rejection, but whenever she meets him she has sex with him.
Undulant Fever isn’t as pretentious as “The Tokyo Night Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blue” but it is far more boring than it, and any other film I have ever seen.
The film fails to realise how totally not profound it is and so when it tries to accentuate its profoundness through scenes that go on for far too long, often filled with long silences and nothingness, it starts to get hard to watch and I was driven close to madness, waiting for someone to say something and something to happen.
Th fault primarily lies in the two characters who are aimless and shallow, and so obviously and deliberately ignorant to their own faults. Dialogue and development might’ve kept such un-relatable shells afloat but both of these rather key narrative elements are missing.
The film just chases its tail, stuck in a cycle that involves the young couple making love, fighting, making love and fighting. The most fascinating moments occur when the central plot isn’t the focus, with a genuinely engaging side plot involving the conflict between Emiko and her mother as well as a brief encounter with a man later in the film.
However these aspects are only briefly touched upon and the film returns to the relationship between Emiko and Yo which is devoid of any energy and meaningful conflict which surmounts in a sudden and meaningless ending.
I can see how this might work as a book but it doesn’t as a film, or would have if the relationship was treated with more dramatic intensity, interesting dialogue and proper explorations of its theme of self destruction.
The cinematography is nice and simple, with nice wides and a terrific tracking shot in a indoor garden and the actors admirably try their best here and shine in the brief moments in which they’re allowed to do more than look sad.
I only just realised Sosuke Ikematsu was the boy in “The Last Samurai” and that makes me like him more, watching him try his best in terrible films like this.
Director: Hiroshi Ando
Writers: Kei Nakazawa (based on the novel by), Haruhiko Arai (screenplay)
Stars: Yui Ichikawa, Sôsuke Ikematsu, Madoka Sakai
Country of origin: Japan
Format : MPEG-4
Format profile : Base Media
Codec ID : isom (isom/iso2/avc1/mp41)
File size : 2.20 GiB
Duration : 1 h 59 min
Overall bit rate : 2 640 kb/s