ASIAN FILM - Review
15:00 - 30th September 2015, by NEO Staff

Still the Water

Shortlisted for the Cannes Palme d’Or, Naomi Kawase’s romantic drama is an emotional journey that explores the meaning of life, love, sex, and death. Set on the remote island of Amami Oshima, Still the Water focuses on two high school students who struggle with their love for each other amidst the trials and tribulations of growing up. While Kyoko’s mother lies dying, Kaito’s issues with his broken family life deter him from fully opening up to her.

The movie’s set up, while slow to begin with, brings out the best in the cast. Jun Yoshinaga and Nijiro Murakami possess a natural rapport as Kyoko and Kaito, however, it is in the scenes between Kyoko and her family that Kawase’s film really takes off. The depth of feeling expressed by Yoshinaga, Tetta Sugimoto as Kyoko’s father, and Miyuki Matsuda as her mother, is astounding and creates a powerful, emotionally-charged atmosphere.

Kawase’s artistic direction combined with Yutaka Yamazaki’s captivating cinematography and the cast’s phenomenal performances makes it obvious why Still the Water has been nominated for multiple awards. The film’s underwater scenes and mountainous landscapes are enchanting and offset the pain that is felt by the characters, whilst Hashiken’s beautiful soundtrack enhances its poignancy. Although some early scenes are unpleasant to watch – anyone opposed to animals being slaughtered should look away – that’s a minor complaint when compared to the overall effect Still the Water will have on its audience.

Kawase’s drama explores the meaning of life and death with powerful performances and a captivating landscape.
SCORE: 4/5
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