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Depicts the lives of the lower class in the late Edo period in Japan… Excellent acting by Haru Kuroki

Movie ‘Okikuwa World’

Movie ‘Okikuwa World’

(Seoul = Larose.VIP) Reporter Youngjae Lee = When we think of period films, we usually think of biographies of heroes set in the distant past. It is a story about an exceptional historical figure who achieves great feats in the face of adversity such as war.

In this respect, director Junji Sakamoto’s new film ‘Okikuwa World’ is a unique film. Although it is a period drama, it depicts the daily lives of ordinary lower-class people and is a story about human excrement, a topic that everyone would avoid.

This film is set against the backdrop of the transition period in which Japan, which had maintained isolation from the country at the end of the Edo period (1603-1868) established by Tokugawa Ieyasu, opened its doors to modernization under pressure from the West.

The main characters are Okiku (Haru Kuroki), the only daughter of a fallen samurai living in a slum in Edo (today’s Tokyo), the center of Japan at the time, and Yasuke (Sosuke Ikematsu), a young man who buys and sells excrement, and Chuji (Ichiro Kan).

In the movie, it is not easy to sense that Japan has entered a historical turning point. The lives of commoners appear to be the same as they were for hundreds of years during the Edo period.

However, the word ‘world’, which was a new word at the time, suggests that rapid changes in Japanese society are just around the corner.

Okiku’s father, Genbei (Koichi Sato), laments, “I don’t know where the sky ends. That is the world,” and “The reason the country is in disarray is because I only found out about it now.”

‘Okikuwa World’ depicts the circular economy of an agricultural society that has refused trade with the outside world, focusing on the material of excrement. In the play, in Japan during the Edo period, excrement is not a waste, but a valuable resource used as fertilizer to fertilize the land.

Movie ‘Okikuwa World’

Movie ‘Okikuwa World’

Yasuke and Chuji go from house to house in densely populated Edo, paying money to collect waste. They put this on a ferry, take it down the river to a rural village, and sell it for a premium.

Food that enters the human body becomes excrement and comes out of the body, and the excrement is spread on the land to provide nutrients to crops. Yasuke praises excrement, saying, “Poop and food are all the same.”

It shows a lifestyle in a circular economy that is unfamiliar to modern people, but it does not send messages such as resource recycling or environmental protection. However, the audience naturally wonders whether today’s lifestyle is sustainable and whether there is an alternative.

The innocent romance between Okiku and Chuji forms the axis of the play along with the circular economy. Haru Kuroki, who plays the role of Okiku, delivers an outstanding performance, portraying the image of a youth falling in love for the first time with just a single expression on her face or a subtle movement of her body.

Audiences who know the historical background have a feeling that they will soon be caught up in the vortex of history. This premonition may make their love feel even more beautiful.

This is the 30th work of director Sakamoto, who is known as a director representing the ‘New Wave’ of Japanese cinema. The black-and-white video adds an old-fashioned atmosphere and reduces the discomfort of scenes involving excrement.

Director Sakamoto, who was invited to the competition section of the 52nd Berlin International Film Festival for his film ‘KT’ (2002), which deals with the kidnapping of former President Kim Dae-jung in Tokyo in 1973, visited Korea for the release of ‘Children of Darkness’ (2008) and met with director Bong Joon-ho. He has a deep connection with Korea, including having conversations with .

‘Okikuwa World’ is the first work of the ‘Good Day Project’, in which the Japanese film industry and natural science researchers participate, with the goal of capturing concerns about nature and the environment in film.

At the 97th Kinema Junpo’s ‘Best Japanese Movies’ list, it ranked first, beating director Hirokazu Koreeda’s ‘The Host’ and director Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘How Will You Live?’.

Released on the 21st. 90 minutes. Suitable for ages 12 and up.

Movie ‘Okikuwa World’

Movie ‘Okikuwa World’

ljglory@yna.co.kr

Report to KakaoTalk okjebo 2024/02/16 08:15 Sent

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