Naokos Lächeln (2010)

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Naokos Lächeln: Directed by Anh Hung Tran. With Ken’ichi Matsuyama, Rinko Kikuchi, Kiko Mizuhara, Kengo Kôra. Toru recalls his life in the 1960s, when his friend Kizuki killed himself and he grew close to Naoko, Kizuki’s girlfriend, and another woman, the outgoing, lively Midori.

“If you have read the book by Haruki Murakami this film wonu0026#39;t spoil it, but you will be frustrated at what it failed to achieve. Sometimes with adaptations you hate the way they change key details, and take away the meaning of the original work. Here, its a different problem. The film was too languid and reserved. The story of Naoko and Watanabe was generally well done. But it really failed to tell the relationship of Midori and Wantanabe. In the novel she is far more quirky and sparky than was shown , and it would have lifted the film to have portrayed that. Similarly, it would have made it more lively had we seen Wantanabeu0026#39;s strange room mate Stormtrooper. And again it would have been more interesting, if we had seen Watanabe and Nagasawa on their nights out hunting for girls. Norwegian Wood was beautifully filmed, and I loved the sets which resonated with the descriptions in the book. I apologise for mentioning the book so much, but I donu0026#39;t think this film carries its own weight if you havenu0026#39;t read it. I canu0026#39;t imagine I would have felt emotionally drawn into without knowing the book, as the characters werenu0026#39;t developed properly. To sum up – not a disaster, but very much a missed opportunity.”

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