With “Tempura”, Japanese director Akiko Ohku humorously repeats the genre of romantic comedy in an inventive production that features a single 30-something in search of self, love and balance in a changing society. The film, the audience award at the Tokyo International Film Festival, will be released in French cinemas on July 20.
Mitsuko, 30, lives alone in his small apartment in Tokyo. She is trying to live her celibacy with relaxation in a society that still does not accept that a young woman is not married after 30 years. Mitsuko spends a lot of time talking to her best friend, “A”, who happens to be inside herself.
This “double” is both a support and a mentor who comments on his life and suggests “single girl challenges”like going to the beach or enjoying yakinikus (grilled meat) alone in a restaurant or, the ultimate challenge, traveling alone.
Mitsuko likes to cook, and when her colleague Ada happens to meet on the street while shopping, asks her to share the dishes she makes with him, the young woman accepts with pleasure. From then on, Ada comes every day with a clock regularly to pick up her packed lunch from Mitsuko.
The beginning of a love story? Will the young woman dare to invite Ada to good food? Will she be able to free herself from her reassuring double as a cocoon to live her life and love? Will she be able to let go of solo life and live together?
Behind her heroine’s daily life, the director captures the bends of a changing world. In a highly codified Japanese society, Mitsuko, a whimsical and slightly offbeat young woman (magnificently embodied by actress Non) has trouble taking the plunge to get out of her bubble.
She wants to live a romantic relationship with Tada without giving up herself and her lonely happiness. It will take time, simple moments shared with Ada (especially the crucial meals), an escape to a spa, a trip to Rome and another, more dreamlike, on a beach in Okinawa, to find the strength to expel this double , which prevents her from coming out of herself to meet the other.
“Mitsuko thus explores not only the difficulty of a social being flourishing in loneliness – which is all the more difficult to assume for women presumed to be fulfilled through heterosexual marriage – but also the difficulty of leaving another subject into his personal space. . “Akiko Ohku
director of “Tempura”
This second feature film by Akiko Ohku is adapted from a novel by Risa Wataya and offers a very personal version of the romantic comedy. With blur, off-frame shots, off-screen shots, slow motion, dreamlike shots and very good sound work, the director plays an immersive staging, as close as possible to his character, which propels the viewer into the bubble, into the inner world and the flow of Feelings and thoughts from her heroine. The effect is amplified by the presence of “A”, this little inner voice that the director had the audacity to choose as masculine.
Around Mitsouko, the supporting characters – his colleague imbued with a caricature of a macho man, or his friend who lives in Rome, married, pregnant, but who feels so alone – act as counterpoints that illuminate this reflection on the couple.
Aside from a few small lengths, this romantic comedy, both light and deep, full of poetry and humor, offers an intriguing focus on contemporary Japan and its youth, in full search of meaning, with a pleasing offbeat look. .
Gender: comedy, drama, romance
Manager: by Akiko Ohku
Actresses: No, Kento Hayashi, Ai Hashimoto, Asami Usuda, Airi Katagiri, Takuya Wakabayashi
Country : Japan
Exit: July 20, 2022
Distributor: Art House movie
Synopsis : Mitsuko has always lived in its bubble. In the heart of a Tokyo that is too big for her, she indulges with passion for cooking recipes that she refines from her small apartment. As a fulfilled single, she presents herself with new challenges every day, including the unprecedented … invites a boy to dinner!