Kakera: A Piece of Our Life (tbc)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner01/04/2010

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 100 mins

Quirky and charming, this is an enjoyably offbeat relationship drama with strong performances from its two leads.

What's it all about?
Directed by Momoko Ando, Kakera – A Piece of Our Life is loosely based on Erica Sakurazawa's 1996 manga Love Vibes. Set in modern-day Tokyo, it stars Hikari Mitsushima as Haru, an awkward and shy university student who's in an unfulfilling relationship with her slobbish, movie-obsessed boyfriend (Tasuku Nagaoka).

When Haru is unexpectedly chatted up in a coffee shop by the slightly older, confident Riko (Eriko Nakamura), the pair strike up a strong bond and begin a friendship that soon turns into a tentative lesbian relationship. However, Riko is somewhat intense and her jealousy and public declarations of love threaten to end their relationship before it's even really begun.

The Good
Hikari Mitsushima is excellent as Haru, perfectly conveying the boredom and frustration of being stuck in an unsatisfactory relationship but also being too lazy to do anything about it. Eriko Nakamura is equally good, managing to suggest that Riko's confidence may just be a mask and that she's actually slightly unhinged (though you're never quite sure).

There's also strong support from Tasuku Nagaoka and from Rino Katase, as an attractive older woman Riko meets in a lesbian bar after recognising her as one of her clients (she works as a prosthetics sculptor, which leads to perkily offbeat lines such as “I'm working on a boob!”).

The Great
The relationship between Haru and Riko is charming and sweet and Ando includes several enjoyable scenes, such as the pair tossing soda bottles to each other or spending the day at the zoo. There are also a number of quirky scenes, such as the weird lesbian bar sequence or a bizarrely erotic flashback that accompanies an anecdote about Haru not being able to feel her bottom after anaesthetic. The subtle script is excellent and delivers a surprisingly emotional pay-off that is both unexpected and deeply moving.

Worth seeing?
In short, Kakera: A Piece of Our Life is an offbeat, quirkily charming relationship drama that delivers something of an emotional sucker punch thanks to strong direction, a superb script and terrific performances from its two leads. Recommended.

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Kakera: A Piece of Our Life (tbc)
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Content updated: 17/11/2017 17:36

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