Sunday, May 22, 2022

Love Knots

Undo (1994) - Iwai Screen Shot 2022-05-22 at 9.30.57 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-22 at 9.54.24 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-22 at 11.02.02 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-22 at 9.56.49 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-22 at 9.59.37 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-22 at 10.02.29 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-22 at 10.04.40 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-22 at 10.08.10 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-22 at 10.10.25 AM Screen Shot 2022-05-22 at 10.17.14 AM Yukio (Etsushi Toyokawa) and Moemi (Tomoko Yamaguchi) are a young couple very much in love. Yukio is a writer, spending most of his time at his computer. Yet, he tries to tend to Moemi's needs. Dogs and cats are not allowed in their seemingly large and specious apartment, so Yukio gets a couple of turtles for Moemi. First apprehensive, Moemi gets used to the idea of turtles as pets and takes them to stroll outside and stuff. Moemi also got her braces off from her teeth, the new reality that Yukio has to get used to while kissing her: she notices that he is missing that metalic taste and half jokingly suggests she will wear them for him, forever.

Moemi also develops Obssessive Knot-Binding Syndrome, where she continuously binds everything in the house with her yarns - the turtles, fruit, books, sissors, etc. She finally ends up with binding herself. Is this some sort of symptoms of their seemingly normal relationship? Why is she doing this? What's the cause of her maladies? Short on exposition and but extra on surrealism, Undo befits that early 90s soft-edged Japanese emo dramas.

Undo operates in that distinct 90s Japanese literary universe, helmed by writers Banana Yoshimoto and Haruki Murakami - something whimsical, surreal yet ultimately shallow and harmless. These slight stories only exists within the universe where nothing is too dramatic or tragic, as if afraid of digging deeper into their own meanings would shatter their thin visage and evaporates into ether. But yet, that preciousness was the charm and lure so many of my peers were enraptured by back then. And Undo is the pinnacle of that fragile preciousness on display.

Shunji Iwai has a talent for visual flair - the turles hanging from the windows, gaggle of school children while the couple are embracing, the sunbeams on Yamaguchi's lovely face are all memorable.