Naked of Defenses
Following a traffic accident Ritsuko, a young forewoman at a Japanese factory, suffered a miscarriage. Since then she has buried herself in inner isolation. When the pregnant, fun-loving Chinatsu enters her world, old wounds are reopened, but she also brings change. Ichii Masahides’ serene scenes enable the viewer to empathize with the sadness of his silent protagonist. The Japanese director doggedly explores an existence that is reduced to mechanical movements and routines. While the perfunctory gestures of Ritsuko’s home life tell of a stunted marriage, the repetitiveness of her work at the factory seems to offer her stability and solace. The soft greenness of the countryside surrounding the factory in the northern Japanese region of Hokuriku also has a soothing effect. When Ritsuko is given the task of training her new colleague Chinatsu, the fragile rhythm of her life is upset – a false move brings the conveyor belt to a sudden stop. The pregnant Chinatsu comes to reflect all Ritsuko once lost. Ichii’s film turns into a psychological thriller which draws its tension from the question of whether Ritsuko will be able to face her reflection or whether she must destroy it.
by Ichii Masahide
with Moriya Ayako, Konno Sanae, Nishimoto Ryuki, Nakamura Kuniaki, Kakinuma Naoko, Kumanomido Aya, Asama Yuki, Ichii Hayata
Japan 2008 88’

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