“Tokyo Lovers” is co-written and co-directed by Mayumi Yoshida – who also stars in the movie – and Nach Dudsdeemaytha, two Vancouver-based producers, directors, editors.
The short film is at the moment touring the festival circuit and it has recently taken home 5 awards (Best Short Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Cinematography, and Best Sound Design) from Vancouver Short Film Festival.
“Tokyo Lovers” is screening at the
Winter Film Awards International Film Festival
Young Canadian Paul (Jerome Yoo) has the brilliant idea to travel to Tokyo for the Christmas and New Tear Vacations and join Sachiko, a girl he thinks of as his girlfriend. They had a fling back in Vancouver and promised love to each other as many lovely selfies on his phone can prove. This – of course – is the typical prologue of a disaster and not surprisingly, when Paul knocks at her door, Aki, a grumpy and disillusioned flat-mate is there to inform him that Sachiko has gone back to her hometown for Christmas.
Aki herself is not having the Christmas she would have desired; her musician boyfriend is rehearsing with his mates and let her down. Therefore, realising that Christmas is not the best time of the year to be alone, she offers Paul to follow him to Kyoto where he had planned and booked a romantic trip with his absent girlfriend.
Heartbroken and disappointed, they bond in the bad luck and slowly the sorrow fades away, leaving place for reconciliation with the world and with themselves.
Yoshida and Dudsdeemaytha have often collaborated and crafted their works with a consistent accuracy and quality, controlling and owning the product from almost every possible angle.
Wai Sun Cheng’s photography is crisp and lively, highlighting the contrast between the cold and grey tones of Tokyo’s winter and the warmth of New Year celebrations; a duality that goes hand in hand with the characters’ mood.
Despite the localized title, “Tokyo Lovers” has a very distinctive transnational flavor. The mix of languages – English and Japanese – and the provenance of both the protagonists and actors help to enhance that feeling but it is mainly the script that opens the door to a universal resonance. As opposite to the elegant and moving “Akashi”, a previous work of the talented Mayumi Yoshida (Dudsdeemaytha only produced that), where Japanese culture is the strong media filtering a delicate reflection about the kindness of love, here Tokyo stays firmly on the background; just a symbol of a busy modern metropolis where individuals are fragile constructs and loneliness is a very possible collateral damage.
In this sense “Tokyo Lovers” is a modern piece of work, one that jumps across the boundaries with agility and verve and it does bring good humor with it.