english

KURO (Hanare Banareni) by Daisuke Shimote

Japan / Color / 85min.45sec. / DCP / Japanese

Actors - Filmography: (selective)
Airi Kido (Kuro) ? Path of Dreams(‘18), Kohi ga Samenai Uchi Ni(’18)
Yu Saitoh (Eito) ? Kyoaku(‘13), Dorei-ku(’14), Hibi rock(‘14), Black film(’15), Kita no sakuramori(‘18)
Hideo Nakaizumi (Gou) ? PAIN(‘00), Who’s camus anyway?(’05), Nanjing! Nanjing!(’09), Kuroi shikaku(‘12)
Wakana Matsumoto (Nana) - Fujoshi kanojo(’09), Kyu shihaisha no carol(’12), Gukoroku(’16)
Miwako Wagatsuma (Momo) - Koi ni itaru yamai(’11), Koppa mijin(’14), Chi no shio Yamamuro Gunpei haha no negai(’17)

Synopsis

Kuro used to dream of becoming a baker, but gets fired from the bakery she works at. Eito, a photographer, breaks up with his girlfriend who he was thinking of marrying. Gou, a theater director, has his production thrown into jeopardy after his lead actress drops out. These three people with no common ground meet by coincidence, then leave Tokyo and begin living together at a deserted inn near the sea. The shooting concept was to keep the dialog to a minimum. Each scene was shot in one long take to emphasize the emotional distances between the characters.

Director’s Biography

Born in 1976 in Gifu. Studied at Nihon University College of Art, and received an MSc from Waseda University's Graduate School of Global Information and Telecommunication Studies. Returned to the school after graduation as a visiting researcher to further his study of Yasujiro Ozu.“KURO” is his first feature film.

Festival

Interview

Reviews

●Telegraph

By Robbie Collin, Chief Film Critic

Robbie Collin finds a delightful gem in Kuro at the Tokyo International Film Festival.

Seldom this year have I felt quite so delighted, refreshed and nourished by a film as Kuro, an impish reverie bathed in milky colours and even light, and the best thing I have seen at the Tokyo International Film Festival this year.

Kuro (Airi Kido) is a blithe young Tokyo woman who is fired from a boutique bakery for eating too many croissants on the job. While dawdling around the city, she meets two more aimless souls: Gou(Hideo Nakaizumi), a director whose actress wife is unimpressed by his extra-marital flirtations, and Eito (Yu Saitoh), a photographer whose long term relationship has recently begun to curdle.

Together, apropos of almost nothing, the trio drive out to the coastal resort of Oshima, where an abandoned hotel becomes the setting for a kind of blissed-out collective daydream. In a series of liltingly funny skits, the trio go on day trips, bicker in the hotel or simply play games with one another, and all of these activities are shaped by the same wispy dream logic.

A game of Wii Sports Tennis, for example, drifts away from the television and becomes a fully mimed Wimbledon final on the hotel roof. An argument about sleeping with the light on, off or dimmed is resolved with a poetically funny visual punchline.

This is 36-year-old director Daisuke Shimote’s first film, and beneath its gauzy surface the craftsmanship is meticulous. The Festival programme notes Shimote’s postgraduate studies into thework of Yasujiro Ozu, but while the Japanese master’s formal rigour is very much in evidence inKuro, there’s a conceptual playfulness here too that’s distinctly European.

The comic timing often recalls Tati, and Kuro, Gou and Eito’s wispy chemistry evokes the central relationships in Bande a part (Godard’s film was originally released in Japan under the name Hanarebanare Ni ? roughly translated as ‘separate pieces’ ? which is also Kuro's Japanese title.)

Film buffs may also spot nods to Woody Allen, Edward Yang, Francois Truffaut and others, but Kuro wears its cineliteracy lightly, and really the film is an opportunity for its audience, as well as characters, to soar into the realms of fancy, leaving the real world dangling miles below. It’s a winking, twinkling pleasure.

●ScreenDaily

By Mark Adams, chief film critic

Kuro is just the sort of sweetly charming film to feature strongly on the festival circuit.

An engagingly playful ensemble drama that wears its love for French New Wave cinema on its sleeve, writer/director Daisuke Shimote’s Kuro (Hanare Banareni) is a charmer of an art house film given sweet-natured energy by central character Kuro Ueki (the delightful Airi Kido).

An adult coming-of-age ensemble drama, each scene is shot in one long take with minimal dialogue as Shimote strives to emphasise the mental and emotional distances between the characters, as well as shooting elegantly structured scenes that play on a youthful sense of oddball fun, with clear references to Jean-Luc Godard’s Bande a part (Band Of Outsiders). The film had its world premiere at the Tokyo Film Festival.

This ‘band of outsiders’ are sweetly laid-back Kuro dreamed of becoming a baker, but gets fired from the bakery sheworks at and heads off into the city to steal clothes, charm all around her; Eito (Yu Saitoh), a photographer, breaks up with his girlfriend Nana (Wakana Matsumoto) who wants to get married, and Gou (Hideo Nakaizumi), a theatre director, who has his production thrown into jeopardy after his lead actress drops out.

These three young people, with nothing in common, meet by coincidence head out of Tokyo and stay together at a deserted inn near the sea. They play games, sleep, have fun ? Gou plans to adapt his stage play so Kuro can play the lead ? and embrace their time together, fending off the realities of life for as long as possible.

The seaside backdrop provides the perfect playground for their antics ? from a wide empty veranda where they play invisible tennis through to the rocky beach where they mull over things ? with debut writer/director Daisuke Shimote letting the spaces in-between his characters help tell their oddball story as much as the minimal dialogue.

Kuro is just the sort of sweetly charming film to feature strongly on the festival circuit and is certainly a nice balance to more traditionally structured film emerging from mainstream Japanese cinema.

●Hollywood Reporter

by Megan Lehmann

Airi Kido, Yu Saitoh and Hideo Nakaizumi play odd bedfellows in Daisuke Shimote’s lighthearted debut feature.

A trio of Tokyoites jitterbugs through a series of absurdist set pieces on their way to self-discovery in Kuro, the self-consciously quirky debut feature by Japanese director Daisuke Shimote. Insubstantial but occasionally diverting, it’s a comic drama whose purely physical comedy comes in fits and starts, seemingly independent of the narrative.

Daisuke reveals a good eye for composition and, although Kuro doesn’t have the substance to travel much further than its slot in the Japanese Eyes section of the Tokyo International Film Festival, it’s a respectable calling card for the former art student whose studies have focused on the works of legendary cinematic craftsman Yasujiro Ozu.

Formerly known as Hanare Banareni, which loosely translates as “far apart”, the new title aptly reflects the dominant role played by the female member of the group. Kuro (cute newcomer Airi Kido) is an ennui-addled teen with scant regard for social niceties or the law. She works in a bakery in such a desultory way that it’s hard to believe her big dream is to be a baker herself.

Summarily fired for slacking off, she is scooped up off the street after creating a ruckus by stealing from some jazz buskers (she later shapes the pilfered yen into paper airplanes). Her saviour, it turns out, is Gou (Hideo Nakaizumi), a theater director whose latest production is in limbo after losing its diva-like lead actress.

The two head out of Tokyo in his vintage car, stopping to pick up Eito (Yu Saitoh), hitchhiking after his car has broken down. Eito, a photographer who has just broken up with his fiancee, leads them to the seaside, to a deserted inn that belonged to his late uncle. Through silent agreement the three strangers begin living there, with the chain-smoking Kuro getting the upper hand whenever there is dissension in the ranks.

Sparse dialogue and long, static takes, in which Daisuke often reconfigures the trio in the frame for the hell of it, give these scenes an observational quality and serve to emphasize the distance between the emotionally vacant characters.

They amuse themselves with silly games and there are some nice sequences, including one involving lobster soup and another in which a half-hearted game of Wii turns entertainingly theatrical when moved outside.

Still, the narrative is bare-bones, the pace obstinately slow and the ending fizzles. The formality of the framing nods to the filmmaker’s appreciation of Ozu’s works, as do the conspicuous flashes of the color red.