Shunji Iwai ! I
love this director and here, yet again, he shows his uncorruptibleness
(is that a word, i've no idea ?)
... anyway ... and makes a 3 hour long uniquely personal drama, a delightful
fairy tale about the adventures of a young
schoolteacher, Nanami Minagawa. It's Iwai all the way, and almost some
sort of quirky cock-and-bull story.
Young naive Nanami, her life turns upside-down and she just goes through
a series of odd experiences, or, things happen
to her, without her being able to do anything about it. She's basically
the same all through the film, in a meandering tale.
OK, i just heard there's a 4 hour version of this film
also, maybe a TV version?
Shunji Iwai is possibly my favourite film director in
the world, i loved his 1990's films as Swallowtail Butterfly, Picnic
and April Story, his 2001 All About Lily Chou Chou may be the best film
this millennia, and i'm one of the few that thinks
his 2011 film Vampire is a near masterpiece too. I haven't seen his
animated version of Hana and Alice, The Case of Hana
and Alice from 2015 yet, but if that one is a lesser effort this film,
A Bride for Rip Van Winkle is a major one.
So, when i saw this film released in Hong Kong in a Director's Cut Special
edition with english subtitles i must have it, and
as the Blu-ray was in region A i had to get an expensive all region
player. That's a must nowadays as many films from the
most interesting japanese directors are only released in Japan (then
almost always without english subtitles) but sometimes
also in Hong Kong and South Korea with english subtitles.
In the reality of the Streaming Mania here in the West it's rarer and
rarer that film companies release these films on Blu-ray,
it costs too much and too few people buy them. And, if a japanese film
gets a Blu-ray release it would probably be a blood-
bath with nude schoolgirls fighting with chainsaws against yakuza zombie
Some 10 years ago films like this one, from japanese auteurs like Iwai,
Sogo Ishii or Toyoda would surely have been released
in nice DVD editions from some western company, but these small companies
have almost all turned to dust by now.
And, if this film would be released you probably would've to wait a
couple of years for a Blu-ray or DVD release. But, if
there are violence and zombies in it maybe western film companies would
The Hong Kong Blu-ray edition did contain a notepad
for some reason?
This Hong Kong Special edition Blu-ray 2 disc edition
has a blu-ray disc with the film in a 3 hour long director's cut, and
DVD with the extra material, and it's in region A. There are also 5
Postcards and a Notepad for some reason ? I don't re-
member a notepad appearing in the film, but i may be wrong?).
Unfortunately his Masterpiece All About Lily Chou Chou from 2001 don't
have a Blu-ray release as this yet, with english
subtitles. But The Case of Hana and Alice (2015) will be released in
the UK on a Blu-ray nov.2016
This film has 3 main roles: Haru Kuroki as the in her
mid 20's something teacher Nanami Minagawa, singer
Mashiro Satonaka and Go Ayano as the quirky entrepeneur/doer
Amuro Yukimasu. The wildly charismatic popsinger
Cocco, could she be Shunji Iwai's new Chara, his new Muse? She for sure
has got a strong screen presence, which we
could see in Shinya Tsukamoto's experimental indie drama Kotoko from
Nanami - the bride for Rip Van Winkle and Mashiro
Nanami Minagawa, a woman in her mid 20's is working
as a part-time schoolteacher and when she's social networking
she uses the nickname Clammbon. Shunji Iwai was something of a pioneer
depicting social networking on film with his
Internet forum chat project preceding and then playing an important
part in All About Lily Chou Chou, 2001.
Nanami meets her future husband Tetsuya by using Internet dating and
he's also working as a teacher. A Grand
wedding is planned by Tetsuya's rich and snotty parents and there are
some problems ahead.
1. Nanami has gotten fired from her work as a teacher,
and 2. She has got almost no relatives.
She has a really weak voice and her pupils mock her, lures her into
using a microphone in class, and "a weak voice
is no good" the principal says and fires her. This she don't dare
to inform her future husband of.
Another embarrasing thing for poor Nanami is that she has got NO relatives
with the exception of her parents, and
they're divorced. Tetsuya's parents, and especially his snotty mother
Kayako, Nanami's soon to be nasty stepmother
(played by Hideko Hara) would for sure don't like to hear that. The
Solution? Amura Ltd.
The Phenomenon of False Relatives and Relationship Destruction
Amuro Yukimasu (Go Ayano) has a business where he fixes
things. In this case he provides false relatives to people
about to be married in a big expensive japanese traditional wedding.
Providing false relatives is a phenomenon that
actually do occur in Japan, and it's funny in a somewhat absurd and
So, Nanami has to pay a lot but the wedding takes place and soon she
lives a boring life as a homemaker/housewife.
For a short time because soon her nasty stepmother finds out about her
situation and now it's time for another odd
japanese phenomenon, relationship destroying. Evil
Kayako want's her son to be divorced from the unworthy
low-life woman Nanami and engages a company (Amura Ltd. again) that
provides such a service.
Kayako: "Your relatives at the wedding ... were
Nanami: "I'm terribly sorry. I thought it improper with so few
Nanami and Amuro
Divorce follows and Nanami is kicked out on the street
with her few belongings in a bag. But now Amuro enters
in her life again, maybe because of having a bad conscience for providing
the relationship destroyer to ruin her
marriage or just maybe as he's a fixer, an entrepeneur and could use
her in his business. Anyway, she's employed
to be one of the actors in his false relatives group, and now she meets
the enigmatic Mashiro (Cocco) and the
second part of the movie begins.
Cocco is great as the false relative, housemaid and/or
actress Mashiro Satonaka, with her social network nickname
Rip Van Winkle. A great depiction of female friendship and love and
an interesting melodrama fairy tale this film is.
The "real" Rip Van Winkle is a fictional figure in a 1820
novel, a man who slept through the american revolution.
Widescreen japanese audio DD EX or 5.1 with english subtitles, notebook,
5 postcards and some cut out sheet
thing to make the small paper hat or urn that Haru Kuroki wears on her
head on the cover
Extra DVD disc with the Making of Documentary: Days with Rip
Van Winkle (91 minutes) with english subs
and very interesting to see how Iwai works, he did the lighting himself
and he's a fan of Cocco