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April Story

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Product Details

  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B0002KNTQ0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #716,559 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Phillip Kay on January 10, 2006
April Story, Shigatsu monogatori, is a 1998 film by Shunji Iwai, who had made Love Letter in 1995 and who went on to make Lily Chou-Chou in 2001 and Hana and Alice in 2004. He's clearly interested in exploring youth culture. April Story runs for little more than 65 minutes. It is virtually a one woman show for actress Takako Matsu. The film manages to achieve something rare: written, edited and directed by a midddle aged Japanese male, it conveyed to this male viewer something of what a teenaged girl feels when she's in love. I think anyone who can remember being in love when very young will enjoy it. The film enters wholly into the viewpoint of its main character. It shows the much more practical attitude women have to this condition of being in love than do men. It also shows the inarticulateness of a shy and inexperienced girl from Hokkaido set down amidst city slickers in a Tokyo university. Iwai creates just enough distance from Mireno, the character played by Takako Matsu, to observe her with affection, to smile at her awkwardness and absurdity and to note the tenacity with which she pursues her objective. He frames Matsu again and again in careful compositions whose arrangement of colours is both heady and formal. Matsu becomes at times almost a symbol of beauty and innocence. This mood is enhanced by a soundtrack which is largely romantic piano solo.

Nothing happens in the film aside from what is required to sketch in the situation. There is little dialogue, not much of it significant, no resolution to the story. You really do have to remember your first love affair to know that this is right. Takako Matsu does a good job of not saying much, being awkward, yet gaining the audience's sympathy. You should remember her with her red umbrella in the storm.
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