The Ravine of Goodbye

(Sayonara Keikoku)
(Japan, 2013, 118 mins, DCP)
North American Premiere
CAST Maki Yoko, Onishi Shima, Omori Nao, Anne Suzuki, Iura Arata, Tsuruta Mayu, Arai Hirofumi
PRODS Takahashi Juri, Morishige Akira, Muraoka Shinichiro
SCR Takada Ryo, Omori Tatsushi
CAM Otsuka Ryo
ED Hayano Ryo
PROD DES Kurokawa Toshimich
MUS Hiramoto Masahiro
PROD CO "The Ravine of Goodbye" Film Partners, for Stardust Pictures


Omori Tatsushi’s breakthrough film, a top prize-winner in Moscow, trumps his previous "problem macho" movies with a transfixing look at a most unusual heterosexual relationship.

Adapting a novel by Yoshida Shuichi, he starts with the arrest of a mother suspected of killing her child—but the focus is on her neighbours, the Ozakis. Ozaki Shunsuke and his wife Kanako (Onishi Shima and Maki Yoko, both terrific) are an apparently happy couple with a very active sex life. But there’s a rumour that Ozaki had an affair with the arrested woman. A tabloid editor assigns his staffer Watanabe (Omori Nao, the director’s brother) to investigate the man. It turns out that Ozaki has a black hole in his past: as a student he was involved in the gang rape of a young woman, left college without graduating, and hasn’t been able to hold down a job since. But what relevance could this history have to present circumstances? It may seem a little odd to make a tabloid reporter the detective figure (and good guy!) who uncovers the truth, but Omori gets away with it by stressing Watanabe’s own failing marriage and by giving him a smarter woman colleague. This superbly acted mystery turns on female empowerment and male guilt.

Tony Rayns

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