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NORWEGIAN WOOD

Director: TRAN ANH HUNG

133 minutes| Japan| 2010| Subtitled| Colour| D-Cinema


Haruki Murakami’s literary phenomenon, a million-selling chronicle of romantic obsession in late 1960s’ Tokyo, becomes a captivating celluloid mood piece in the hands of gifted French-Vietnamese auteur Tran Anh Hung. The maker of The Scent of Green Papaya, given Murakami’s blessing, creates a characteristically immersive sense of time and place as a university student finds himself torn between the troubled ex-girlfriend of a high-school pal who committed suicide and the fresh attractions of a coquette-ish undergraduate. Although it’s less plot-driven than the two-hour-plus running time might suggest, the languorous pacing can be justified by the story of a young man hovering between past and future, uncertainly disentangling true feelings from the idea of love itself. Thanks to brilliant cameraman Ping Bin Lee and the captivating, discordant sounds of Jonny ‘Radiohead’ Greenwood’s startling score, the film’s utterly responsive to the nuance of each emotional moment, and though it makes telling use of the eponymous Beatles number, krautrock legends Can dominate the soundtrack selection. Now that’s cool. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

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