Title: Otonari/Romantic Interlude (2009)
Director: Naoto Kumazawa
Scriptwriter: Naoto Kumazawa & Yukiko Manabe
Cast: Okada Junichi, Asô Kumiko and Tanimura Mitsuki
Synopsis: Nojima Satoshi (Okada Junichi) is a photographer whose job depends on his friend Shingo, a model, who in turn is in a middle of a career crisis. Nojima wants to photograph scenery, but is held back because he feels obligated to stay back with his friend. His neighbor, Nanao (Aso Kumiko), works at a flower shop, has dedicated her life to her job and isn’t involved in any romance. They have never met, however, they’re aware of each other’s presence through the sound each makes in their daily lives through the thin wall. Each character is the story is going through some sort of struggle - either with their identity, their career, or their love life. In a fast-paced society, it feels like there is never enough time to stop and recognize things that are most important in one’s life. Through twists and turns, they gradually realize their true desires, and on the road to reach their goals, their paths somehow intersects, in this believable modern-day fairy-tale.
Why This Film is Awesome: I have a relatively boring life and, for the most part, I prefer to stay at home, but, living in a big city, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle from time to time. Even when my body isn’t moving, my brain is operating at 500 miles per hour. This should explain some things to those of you that 1) know me in real life or 2) have been following FYAD for a while. You can imagine how nice it is to watch something that in is in fact calming and uplifting, reminding me to slow down and that there’s more to life than traffic and reality tv.
Otonari has that independent spirit with a calm atmosphere and a refreshing take on the love story, all things that I love. It has a slow pace that may turn some people off, but mainly because we live in a world with fast paced blockbusters who’s only value system is how much it makes in the first weekend of release. This film, while it depicts the characters and their own “little earthquakes”, mainly concentrates on the core couple that share a connection through the paper thin walls of their apartments. They fall in love with the subtle sounds of their daily lives and soon find that they are more connected than they originally thought. Most importantly the story is rooted in the most romantic of concepts: fate.