Yoshino Takemoto currently works as a medical technician at the Riken Science institute, while pursue her passion for directing in weekends. She is, as she calls herself, a “weekend director”. Takemoto started directing short movies in 2007 and has, since then, already earned many awards with her short narratives. We present three of her works (source: https://psychocinematography.com)

Arcadia (2018, 15.52) 

Included in the shorts section of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, “Arcadia” is a very interesting film that deals with dementia in a rather unique way.

A man is playing the cello and a voice in Greek tells him that his music is good but not enough, not special. In the next scene, we are watching Kaori,  a woman searching for her demented father, while stumbling upon a cello player, Shota, who draws her attention. Soon, her father also appears on the scene, but the cello player collapses and the two take them to their house.

Yoshino Takemoto implements a disorienting approach to the narrative, which seems to mirror the way demented people perceive the world and their memories. Furthermore, although dementia is the main concept (as an issue that has been tormenting the ageing population of Japan) the film also deals with music and with LGBT themes, with the latter deriving from Kaori’s identity, which is revealed in a very brief and subtle scene.

Tomohiro Maeda’s cinematography  is one of the short’s better assets, with him highlighting his prowess in the various close-ups, as in the ones of the protagonists’s hands in the beginning, while the quality of the image is much above the average I usually encounter on shorts.

Overall, “Arcadia” is an interesting short, although I am not sure if this sense of disorientation could be carried to a feature film. On the other hand, and due to this aspect, one could say that this is a complete movie, despite its duration.

The Horizon You Dream Of (20.33)

Tasuku, a man in a yukata is standing in the middle of a green field. The image then changes to a house where he is working with an old-fashion weaving loom, before another man visits him, who proves to be his older cousin and the one in-charge of their small entrepreneurship. Mika, a little girl appears after a while, admiring the fabrics.  Her mother also appears after a while, and seems to have been searching for her. As the older man does not lose the chance of stating that both are single, hιs statement catches the attention of the woman, who, soon enough, and in very straight forward way, shows her interest for Tasuku. Him, however, is an introvert with some trouble in his speech.

Takemoto implements the dynamic of the archetypic duo (the talented, shy artist and the untalented, confident salesman) in great fashion and she enriches it with an unusual relationship, between a young man and older, single mother, thus resulting in a great family/romantic drama, in the distinct, Japanese style.

The bucolic, rural cinematography is once more great, and the acting on a very high level, with the artist and the little girl stealing the show.

Overall, “The Horizon You Dream Of” definitely has what it takes to be a full feature and I would love watching Takemoto exploring its main themes more.

Encounter (7.25) 

In a film shot exclusively with with an iPhone 6 in Cannes, Takemoto deals with dementia in a rather unusual manner, once more.

A man is smoking, wearing a motley cloth in his head, in a sunny appartment. He sits on a couch and reads an already opened letter. He is frustrated and then a voice in French begins narrating the letter. He then takes the bus in Cannes and goes to meet a woman who is sharing a mother with and is supposedly from the same clan as he, with a tattoo on the back of their right hands being a proof of their connection. The woman, who is obviously of another ethnicity, talks about their mother who is missing due to dementia and asks  him to find her due to a special connection he has with her.

In a short that also functions as a small tour guide of the wonderful city, Takemoto seems to states that dementia is a problem common to every one, regardless of their sex or ethnicity. The ending however, is filled with hope, thus closing the short in a rather nice tone, a fact that is heightened even more by the excellent score by Ken Yanagimoto.

“Encounter” is more of a clip than a movie, but definitely deserves a watch, as it succeeds in both its functions.

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