The story revolves around four people, whose lives come very close in Minami, Osaka, during Christmas. Sherine is a fashion-magazine editor based in Hong Kong, who has been tasked with an article regarding the shopping district in Minami. However, a little before she arrives, the magazine’s photographer bails out. Having no other solution, she takes up the proposal of her contact in the city, to hire an amateur photographer. His name is Tatsuya, and he is a college student. The three of them spent a lot of days working together, and eventually, something romantic seems to form between Tatsuya and Sherine.
Seol-a is a S. Korean flight-attendant who has a relationship with a married man named Shinsuke. She arrives in Minami to spent time with him, and demands that he stays with her during New Year’s Eve, since “his wife had him for Christmas”. Her demands grow bigger and more frequent, to the point where his wife starts suspecting him.
Lim Kah-Wai directs a film that moves like a Japanese indie, with its slow rhythm and the equal focus on characters and environment. Regarding the first aspect, he presents two very different romantic stories. The first one, between Sherine and Tatsuya is built gradually, in a wonderful way that has the spectator cheering for the two of them to come together. The second couple presents another view of romance, one that has consequences for both its members: Shinsuke, for his family, and Seol-a for herself.
Furthermore, the film presents life in three major cities, Hong Kong, Seoul and Osaka, with the focus being on the last one, where the Chinese-Malaysian director actually resides. With the help of cinematographer Tetsuhiro Kato and with his own editing, Lim Kah-Wai highlights all the beauties of the urban scenery of Minami, as his characters visit bars, karaoke parlors, the shopping district and generally roam in its streets.
The actors also follow the usual tactics of the Japanese indie, focusing on realism and having almost no outbreaks, with the sole exception of Bak Seol-a, who has to portray a rather drunk Seol-a, in a sequence. In that fashion, all of the actors, gorgeous Sherine Wong as Serene, Kenji Kohashi as Tatsuya and Teronosuke Takezai as Shinsuke elaborately present their character’s loneliness, and their need to find someone to love. The first couple is particularly cute, chiefly due to Kenji Kohashi, who looks adorable as he tries to communicate his feelings to Serene, without having the words for it.
“Fly me to Minami” is a very beautiful film, in the style of the Japanese indie.
“Fly me to Minami” will be presented along two other Lim Ka-Wai films (“After all these Years” and “Magic and Loss” ) in Spectacle Theater, Brooklyn NY, from Friday, December 9 to Sunday, December 11. The director will be also present for Q&A after the screenings. For more information, here.
It was also part of the programme of 12th Filmasia Film Festival, which was on in Prague December 7 to 10.