Room Laundering / ルームロンダリング [Rumu Rondaringgu] (2018)
DIRECTOR & WRITER: Kenji Katagiri
WRITER: Tatsuya Umemoto
CAST: Elaiza Ikeda, Kaoru Mitsumune, Jo Odagiri, Kiyohiko Shibukawa
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tomoo Ezaki
SOUND DESIGNER: Fumihiko Yanagiya
EDITOR: Mitsuo Nishio
Next screening: Sat July 21, 2018; 11:45 AM
When someone dies in a house or apartment, the landlord is obligated to tell prospective renters that a death occurred but luckily the law does not stipulate how many subsequent tenants need to be notified. Miko is a young reclusive woman who is paid to stay at places where deaths have occurred until a subsequent renter can be found. However, she is actually able to see the ghost of the recently deceased at each place, which proves rather irritating to her.
Okay that synopsis makes this movie sound depressing but while there are certainly sad moments and a dark opening sequence, it’s actually mostly a quirky comedy and sort of a coming of age story in the sense that Miko (Elaiza Ikeda) starts out as somebody who has shut herself away from almost all human contact but then gradually opens up and becomes more engaged with ghosts at first and then real people. Ikeda does a fine job as Miko starting out stone-faced and brooding then gradually becoming more radiant as she lets little smiles or laughs escape her until she willingly does both. Her character is given a very sad background, which feels almost too much. The story is definitely cloying and pushes the tearjerking scenes hard but for the most part it’s not too overdone (although that could be up for debate).