Also known as
Japan [2019] - 100m
Directed by
Macoto Tezuka
More info on
Tezuka's Barbara poster


September 08, 2021


I won't lie, expectations were pretty immense going into this film. I liked Macoto's Tezuka's earlier work a lot, Christopher Doyle's an amazing cinematographer and Fumi Nikaido is one of the best actresses working in Japan today. And while the result is definitely intriguing, this wasn't the masterpiece I'd hoped it would be.

Mikura is a well-respected author. While the public adores him, he is starting to doubt his writing skills. Right then a mysterious woman shows up, unabashedly dishing out critiques about his work. Mikura finds himself uncontrollably drawn to her, as she slowly drags him into a destructive downwards spiral.

Macoto is adapting his father's manga here. I never read the comic, but I did find the "author doubts himself and hits lows to draw inspiration from them" thematic a bit underwhelming. The jazzy soundtrack doesn't really work, Doyle's cinematography isn't on point, and I've seen Nikaido do better work too. There are still some memorable scenes, the mystery is quite fun, and it's certainly not a dull film. It just can't live up to the potential that was clearly there. I'd still recommend it, only don't go in expecting to see a masterpiece.

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