Japan: a story of love and hate - DocuWiki
It's a cliche reinforced on the Japanese side by another cliche that says Japan is Veteran BBC documentarian Sean McAllister's “Japan: A Story of Love and Hate” (which NHK Their relationship is often difficult to watch. An insight into Japan's working poor and fractious relationships, this is a stark JAPAN: A STORY OF LOVE AND HATE () - Sean McAllister Retrospective. Directed by Sean McAllister. With Naoki Sato, Yoshie Sato, Sean McAllister. " Japan: A Story of Love and Hate" follows a year-old postal worker living on the poverty line. Naoki is impotent, and their relationship is cold and dysfunctional.
It works thanks to Naoki, his 56 year old English speaking protagonist, divorced several times, once a businessman on top of the world and now a postman with a tiny salary.
Japan: A Story of Love and Hate
His luck is that Yoshie, 29, takes care of him, she has several jobs including a night one, where she leaves home to entertain men at bars. They live in a very small flat and this is where most of the film takes place. Where most of the conversations between McAllister and Naoki take place as well, and they are pretty intimate. I have never seen a film like that from Japan, about poverty and family trouble and love life crisis.
You are never bored, on the contrary, you are in the film from start to end, and — gosh — I have never seen a filmmaker bring a viagra pill as a gift to a character, as does McAllister does on his second vsit to the father of Yoshie, who has the same age and problem as Naoki, who with this visit, after several years of being with his daughter, sees her father for the first time.
- Film series reveals more than just foreign take on Japan
- Review: ‘Japan: A Story of Love and Hate’
- JAPAN: A STORY OF LOVE AND HATE
See the original review on Filmkommentaren. Of these, weepingly begging for sympathy has rather fallen out of vogue.
But Sean McAllister, I suspect, is on a mission to change that. Jerkily, and none too speedily, the feet jogged through a barren concrete landscape. Then came a semi-coherent voice muttering disconsolately about being depressed and drinking too much. For some reason, possibly to do with the drinking and the depression, this had failed to materialise. In a small rural town, he met a year-old man called Naoki. Once, Naoki had been wealthy — he ran a business employing 70 staff.
Periodically, McAllister would offer sharp yet characteristically doleful observations of his own: As well as revealing a hidden side of Japan, it was also a portrait of a friendship. Naoki and McAllister plainly liked one another and as the filming progressed, so their friendship grew. When McAllister accompanied Yoshie to see her family, her father asked him just one question during the entire visit: Trying to break the ice, McAllister presented the men with a gift — a packet of Viagra each.
This was a wonderful moment, both very funny and extremely touching. No sex at all in fact, even though Naoki and his girlfriend Yoshie live together in the town of Yamagata, north of Tokyo.
This is a side of Japan you rarely see. Dead poor, for a start, and miserable. A place of stupid rules and intimidation at work the kind of intimidation that makes your spirit rot, says Naokiof battling just to stay afloat, of depression and high suicide numbers. Except for the lovely Naoki, a rare maverick, the nail in the Japanese proverb that stands out and should be banged in, but that has somehow escaped the hammer.
And this is a brilliant, original film. Man, is it depressing, though. There may even be love later: Sean has brought a packet of Viagra.
And then they all go out to a bar, to sing. Hope through karaoke, as so often is the way. Two weeks ago Marcel Theroux showed us the wrong way, bouncing off in wide-eyed search of the spiritual concept of Wabi Sabi and coming back with the news that it was all very Japanese and unknowable.
And last night Sean McAllister showed us the right way in Japan: A Story of Love and Hate. There he came across an eccentric called Naoki Sato. Naoki Sato, a part-time post office worker with a Beatles haircut, was that outstanding nail, and how he had been hammered! A former Maoist revolutionary, he had enthusiastically taken up capitalism in his thirties and owned two companies, a bar and a BMW.
Film series reveals more than just foreign take on Japan | The Japan Times
Now 56, he lived in a tiny windowless room, his only break from the housework the seven hours a day that he spent collecting insurance premiums for the post office. I suppose you could say that Yoshie sold oral sex. But she and Naoki no longer talked themselves.
All you could guess from her tabula rasa face was that she despised him and you would guess wrong. What was splendid about Naoki was that this instinctive dissident in a congenitally conformist society had an albeit mordant sense of humour. Everywhere he took us, tragedy and comedy jostled for the foreground. Naoki had a friend called Mr Mushroom Man because he obsessively picked wild mushrooms.
But Mushroom Man also had his tale.
His brother, crushed by a business culture of bullying, was among the 30, Japanese who kill themselves each year. They stay together because Naoki has somehow convinced Yoshie that she needs him for protection. I had several problems with this documentary.
In addition to the bouncy, headache-inducing, Bourne Ultimatum-worthy camera work, Japan: At first I figured documentarian Sean McAllister was a reliable expert since he talks with a British accent.
But about five minutes into the film, I realized it would have a very narrow focus. The film begins with McAllister jogging through his town in rural Yamagata Prefecture.
McAllister portrays the Japanese as cold, hostile people.
Review: 'Japan: A Story of Love and Hate' - Foreign Policy Blogs
While the Japanese do tend to be xenophobic, their xenophobia is more of a product of ignorance than hostility. Naoki blames his problems on capitalism, and blames England for forcing capitalism onto Japan even though it was the U.
In another scene, Naoki and McAllister visit the home of one Mr. Mushroom Man whose brother committed suicide due to the pressures of Japanese work. Mushroom Man also lives in a nice house that appears upper middle class. The film does accurately portray the Japanese workplace. As is typical in Japan, Naoki finds it almost impossible to re-enter the workforce in his 50s in anything other than a bottom-rung position.
Every day begins with radio calisthenics which McAllister fails to point out began during World War II when the government told the public that doing the calisthenics daily would somehow stave off hunger pangs.
Overall, the film suffers from presenting a rare case as typical.