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confusion, even those who admire Kurosawa's style. I've thought a lot
about this movie and I don't think its intentions are that obscure,
though I confess it can be inaccessible. It's just that Kurosawa's
approach is VERY contrary to how Westerners understand film.
Bright Future examines the disillusionment of Japanese youth towards
their parents' generation, and, in turn, their parents' feelings of
failure towards their children. Throughout, a poisonous red jellyfish
symbolizes disaffected youth, drifting along silently, not threatening
unless you cross their path.
Namura and Arita are two 20-somethings working at an industrial
laundry. Namura is apathy itself. He cherishes his dreams of a "bright
future," but in his daily life, he barely registers much more than a
blank stare. He's such a loser he even sucks at his few hobbies; the
one time he goes out to an arcade with his upwardly-mobile sister and
her yuppie boyfriend, the boyfriend casually kicks Namura's ass at
games Namura plays constantly. On his lone trips to a nearby bowling
alley, Namura rolls mostly gutters.
Arita, Namura's only friend, is more mysterious, with a placid surface
underneath which lurks hints of menace. Arita's sole hobby is the care
of his pet jellyfish, which he is trying to acclimate to fresh water.
Arita gives the clueless Namura hand signals (thumb inward means
"wait," finger pointing means "go ahead") so he'll avoid doing anything
"crazy.Read more ›
Deeper meanings mingle with absurdist humor, and the kind of chance occurrences that enliven the fiction of Paul Auster and Haruki Murakami also figure heavily in Kurosawa's films; cinematically, everything from Lynch or Fellini to "Dirty Harry" can be a touchstone for further exploration.
BRIGHT FUTURE is like an improved CHARISMA - more refined, less loony, and considerably more poetic, but Kiyoshi Kurosawa's many thematic concerns - trashing of the environment, a sense of depersonalization (and discreet nihilism) in younger/future generations, the erosion of a society's cohesiveness (especially when that erosion originates within, and not from some external source) - are handled very well - the last shot offers his darkest and most ironic humor, with the cross-generational understanding becoming something quietly heroic evoking certain past masters of Japanese film. A sense that - if younger generations have drifted towards a nihilism that could destroy them or you, it is balanced by an equally withering take on the older generations that somehow let them down; this film in many ways visualizes the idea of getting over it, and moving on with life (after presenting some of the consequences for not doing so).
Tadanobu Asano's presence here is somewhat hyped (definitely on the DVD cover), undoubtedly due to his ascendant global stardom, but his performance here is eclipsed by co-stars Joe Odagiri and Tatsuya Fuji, who both deliver dynamic performances of great range and control.
Mysterious, poetic, beautifully shot (on DV), open to many interpretations, and one of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's finest.
"Bright Future" is a mystical film. I use that term in the sense that something other than logic is driving events. The film has a contingent plot structure with Mamoru's murder of his former boss seemingly coming abruptly and without explanation. The visual effects with the iridescent jellyfish are visually stunning. Perhaps Mamoru identifies with the jellyfish because they are beautiful & lethal. The ending sequence raised questions for me.
This film is well-paced, visually stunning, with strong performances and relationships between the main characters. Enjoy!
Sometimes the narrative surface, aided by long takes and a static camera,is submerged by the subtext,where interesting ideas and effective moments do not quite gel into a fully satisfying whole.The representation of the generation gaps as well as the dreary disillusionment captured by the cinematography are excellent.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Kurosawa shows the inner struggle of young men and a conflict between the young and the old. This film reflects the modern Japanese society's revealed but not dealt problems. Read morePublished on February 13, 2008 by A. Suzuki
Bright Future (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2002)
Kiyoshi Kurosawa gets away from the niche he's carved out in the atmospheric-horror genre for this odd little comedy/drama that... Read more
Having lived in Japan, I connected with this film immmediately. I would say that this type of Japanese filmmaking is a lot like the soaps that air on Japanese television. Read morePublished on March 23, 2006 by Rich
I can see the maddeningly inscrutable "Bright Future" serving as the subject for some poor film school student's dissertation in a course entitled "The Use of Enigma and Symbolism... Read morePublished on April 24, 2005 by Roland E. Zwick
This film ends with one of the most ironic shots I have ever seen. I won't spoil it here, only I'll say that those who are optimistic about our future should check out this film. Read morePublished on March 26, 2005 by Chris Roberts
this movie was great...I especially liked the whole poisonous jellyfish thing... I think that everyone should take a chance on this movie, it really is awesome!Published on March 18, 2005 by Brian