Wednesday, 9 February 2011


2/Duo begins with a morning scene with Kei describing a dream he had the previous night to his partner,Yu, before she leaves for work he asks for money from her, 'for lunch', he tells her. The film lingers with shots of him reclining on their bed, gazing at the ceiling. Later at his acting job, the director informs him that his scene has been pulled from the film,Kei goes home puts the washing machine on and slumps down in front of it.When Yu arrives home from work she notices the change in his attitude, he seems on edge, although on the surface things bounce along in a slightly animated joviality, with her jokingly applying make-up to him,until he erupts exclaiming 'That's enough!'. They meet later at a restaurant where, out of the blue he suggests that they get married,curious at Kei's sudden proposal she asks why, but all he can reply with is that he wants to. 2/Duo, (1997), Suwa Nobuhiro's debut as a director, has a documentary element to the film with both Yu and Kei being interviewed about their relationship as the film progresses,firstly Yu is asked about Kei's motives for the marriage, she's unsure but shares her observation that he seems sad, but doesn't know why. One day after work when she returns to their small apartment she finds him asleep again by the washing machine,the scene begins well with Yu talking and reminiscing about a visit to the beach,but as Kei begins to unpeg the washing the violence in which he throws the laundry at Yu intensifies, until she's forced to scream at him 'What's wrong?', 'I don't know' he screams back, and he storms out of the building, Yu is Kei's emotional punchbag, taking out all his frustrations on her, but he is unable to tell her his reasons.

Kei's fascination with acting is seen again when he is interviewed by an off screen interviewer,and what comes across greatly in the film is his inability to differentiate between acting and reality,as seen in a scene where he imagines his married life with Yu and the dialogues that they will share with each other, throughout the film Kei seems completely oblivious to the emotional turmoil and confusion he's inflicting on Yu, he constantly asks her for money, but at the same time this is blended with his frustrations at being an out of work actor and not being able to fulfill his vocation, taking out his anger on Yu.With each scene the pressure mounts on the couple, mainly it's Yu who bears the brunt of Kei's uncommunicated frustration at his inability to settle into a normal existence, and accept the fact that he's not going to make it as an actor, a climatic scene being where Yu has invited friends around for lunch,whilst she prepares the meal Kei continually criticizes her, the guests when they arrive feel the awkwardness between the two and after a while Kei apologies and asks them to leave,Yu almost hysterical announces to the guests that their getting married,which adds more confusion to the already fraught  situation, but the scene conveys the hidden turmoil that Yu has been trying to keep under control. 2/Duo realistically conveys a couple's disintegration and the frustration of Kei at failing to accept to settle down in a normal job and acknowledge that he failed it as an actor.Suwa's second film M/Other won the 1999 Fipresci award at the Cannes film Awards,his third film, H Story was a remake of Alain Resnais's Hiroshima Mon Amour, which starred novelist/poet/Inu vocalist Ko Machida.

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