Hiru mo Yoru mo
Gateway | Dragons & Tigers
It’s much too long since VIFF last screened a film by Shiota Akihiko, but that’s not entirely our fault. After his early successes with idiosyncratic indie films like Moonlight Whispers and Harmful Insect, offbeat pictures of young people in love, usually with a slight edge of sado-masochism, he went mainstream and made a string of commercial entertainments. So Lifeline (which was commissioned, amazingly, for a corporate website) represents a return to his indie roots—and a rediscovery of what made his work so special to begin with. It was retrieved from internet oblivion and subtitled for the first time by the always-smart Tokyo FILMeX festival last year, and we’re delighted to bring it to its first audience outside Japan.
Ryosuke runs a used car dealership in the sticks, some way outside Tokyo. He inherited the business, and doesn’t enjoy running it. When a girl is dumped by the driver of a car on the road outside his forecourt, his life starts to turn upside-down. The seemingly flaky Shiori is demanding, rude and disinclined to explain herself. (It’s only later that we get tsunami-related hints as to why she behaves as she does.) First she takes up residence in one of the used cars, then keeps turning up like a bad penny, complicating Ryosuke’s life in ways he can’t handle. Fresh as a ‘new wave’ daisy, this is the sparkiest trip to Heartbreak Hotel since Chungking Express.
— Tony Rayns
Preceded By: The PromiseDirector: Shiota Akihiko / Japan, 2016, 15 min.
A "lost" short by Shiota (director of Lifeline), about a divorced father and his young daughter.