A Story Written with Water, though his seventh feature, was a major turning
point in Yoshida’s career as it was the first after he parted ways with
Shochiko Studios. With the new found independence from studio interference, he
embarked on a spree of dark, edgy, layered, psychologically dense, thematically
rich and stylistically dazzling “anti-melodramas”, all starring his ethereal
muse Mariko Okada, with this complex mother-son tale. Shizou (Yasunori Irikawa)
is a shy, young man with a well-paying job and engaged to the pretty, vivacious
Yumiko (Ruriko Asaoka). However, things aren’t anywhere as hunky-dory as they
seem. He has a strange and unhealthy attachment to his beautiful, luscious mother Shizuka
(Okada), disturbingly bordering on Oedipal Complex, which marks his thoughts
and his nature – his prudishness, insecurity, streak of jealousy and aloofness.
And things get further complicated when she renews her relationship with Yumiko’s
gregarious father (Isao Yamagata) with whom she had a torrid affair long back.
Two motifs played key roles; one visual – with a series of exquisitely
structured flashbacks, featuring, among others, Shizou’s lingering memories of
regularly bathing together with his mother when he was a kid, and the other
psychological – his dilemma that his fiancée’s dad might very well be his biological
father as well. The expressionistic B/W photography and disorienting camerawork
combined to provide a disconcerting peek into the protagonist’s troubled
psyche, his inescapable memories, his repressed urges, and his deep-set guilt
on account of his tempestuous relationship with his mother. All the 4 actors,
and especially Irikawa and Okada, provided compelling turns.
Director: Yoshishige Yoshida Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama Language: Japanese Country: Japan