Posted in Film Festivals, Reviews, Trailers, Video, World Film Festival

The Kiyosu Conference review – World Film Festival 2013

kiyosu-conferenceThe Kiyosu Conference (2013)
Director : Koki Mitani
Screenwriter : Koki Mitani. D’après son roman/Based on his novel
Cinematographer : Hideo Yamamoto
Editor : Soichi Ueno
Cast : Koji Yakusho, Yo Oizumi, Fumiyo Kohinata, Koichi Sato, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Tadanohu Asano, Susumu Terashima, Denden
Music : Klyoko Ogino

The next screening is on Monday September 2 and I definitely recommend you check it out.

This is a surprisingly interesting and dynamic movie despite being mostly talking. The characters while initially being presented as almost one dimensional caricatures become multi-layered as they try to form alliances and outwit each other in order to gain a favourable outcome at the inevitable conference. The reason for this is due to the death of Oda Nobunaga, head of the Oda clan and real life historical figure although I doubt the film has any real historical basis beyond that. There is an urgent need to appoint a suitable candidate as the leader, with two of his sons being the obvious choices but which one will it be? Various vassals have decided to gather together at a conference to vote upon the new leader.

Despite what might seem like a serious matter, the movie has many moments of light humour and not all the characters are stone-faced serious. At one point, the two teams have a little competition on the beach, one of which involves a race. The movie is also very bright with some pretty outdoor scenes although I suspect some of it is CG since sometimes it looks too pretty and almost artificial.

The movie is long at over 2 hours but I would say it is not overlong. Much of the engagement is due to good editing which seems to know how long a scene should last before moving on. Despite there being many characters you do eventually catch on to who everybody is except maybe one or two people. The acting was definitely very good. Yo Oizumi in particular was a scene stealer and a great opponent to Koji Yakusho’s character. At one point the sound cut out during the films which only emphasized how important being able to hear the actors speak was to making their conversational wits engaging even if we could still read the subtitles.

I mostly understood what was going on but still had some lingering questions at the end but I think a second viewing would help in this regard. This almost but not quite gets a recommended rating from me. It was certainly different than many other films I’ve seen and the story goes in unexpected ways.

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Author:

Longtime fan of East Asian films. Former "movie reporter" on the music radio show / podcast "Beats From The East" broadcasted on Concordia University's CJLO 1690AM radio station in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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