films seen
average score
Japan - 32 years old
Alive and kicking
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My Name Is Yours

Kimi ga Sekai no Hajimari
2020 / 115m - Japan
My Name Is Yours poster

Fukuda's second feature film is a solid mix of drama and romance elements, far removed from the oddball comedy she served in her first film. Once again she displays a unique signature though. The film is a typical Japanese slice-of-live/coming-of-age affair, but Fukuda adds some nice touches that help elevate the film above its peers. The cinematography is stylish, the performances solid, and some neat plot twists give the film its peculiar rhythm. It's not a film that will convert people to Japanese cinema, but fans will undoubtedly appreciate what Fukuda did here.

My Father, the Bride

Oishii Kazoku
2019 / 95m - Japan
Comedy, Drama
My Father, the Bride poster

Quirky, genuine, and heartfelt, but also possibly offensive. Momoko Fukuda's My Father, the Bride is an odd little film, sporting some larger-than-life characters and a pretty bonkers setup. Fukuda isn't afraid to draw comedy from it too, but it's never malicious and in the end, I think the film has a strong and valuable message that warrants its approach. It all depends on whether you can stomach the film's overstated sense of humor. Also props for some strong performances and stylish cinematography, bonus point for the lovely setting. A neat surprise, this one.

Will I Be Single Forever?

Zutto Dokushin de Iru Tsomori?
2021 / 94m - Japan
Will I Be Single Forever? poster

A contemporary (and considerably more accessible) successor to Tokyo.sora, just not quite as good as its predecessor. That's not saying too much though, as Ishikawa's first is one of my all-time favorite films. Will I Be Single Forever has plenty going for it, it's just a tad too poppy and leading for my personal taste.

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Mami is a young writer who made her name writing a book about how great and empowering it is to be a single woman. Ten years later, she feels differently. She is lonely and wants someone to spend her life with, but finding a good guy is harder than expected. She's about to learn that being in a relationship doesn't necessarily rid people of their loneliness either.

The cinematography is polished, the performances strong (I was happy to see Miwako Ichikawa again, it's been a while) and there are some quirky details that help to set the film apart. The drama felt a bit forced at times though, which is what ultimately kept this film from greatness.

Welcome to a new generation of directors. 21st Century Girl is an anthology featuring only young, female directors, tasked to make a film for 21st century girls (hence the name of the project). Apart from Yuki Yamato, I wasn't familiar with any of the chosen creators, so I was looking forward to the result.

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Lack of consistency is often seen as a weak point of anthologies, personally I love the versatility they bring. That's my only real critique here. While there are a few highlights and no real disappointments, I expected a bit more variation in themes and styles. It too often feels like there's just one typical 21st century girl, which is highly doubtful.

My main takeaway from this film is that Yuki Yamato is by far one of the most promising young directors working in Japan today. I instantly recognized her short and it's easily the stand-out of the bunch. The rest of the women deliver solid films, and they all deserve their shot at a full-length feature. For an anthology though, I expected a tad more creativity.