Women on the Edge

Masahiro Kobayashi’s post-March 11 drama misses the mark

Women on the Edge

©2011 Monkey Town Productions/ Women on the Edge Production Committee

Director: Masahiro Kobayashi
Starring: Makiko Watanabe, Yuko Nakamura, Miho Fujima
Japanese title: Girigiri no Onnatachi

In the summer following the Tohoku quake and tsunami, three estranged sisters converge on their old family home in Kesennuma for an unplanned – and uneasy – reunion. The oldest (Makiko Watanabe) is a butoh dancer returning from a less-than-successful career in New York; middle child Yuko Nakamura has left her husband and son in Tokyo in order to be there, though her vagueness about the details suggests that there's more to it than that; and then there's the youngest (Miho Fujima), who was abandoned to take care of the house after their father died. Long-simmering resentments are aired and psychic wounds exposed, yet the problems of these three siblings seem insignificant compared to the scenes of devastation outside their front door. Writer/director Kobayashi's script relies far too heavily on dialogue to fill in the details of his characters' backstories, creating a stagy feel that's no more apparent than in the 35-minute single-take shot that opens the film – a potentially bravura move that here merely lends Women on the Edge the unshakeable odor of a student drama production.

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By James Hadfield
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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