Kirino’s “Out”: from the novel to the movies

El otro día saqué del Tsutaya “Out”, versión cinematográfica de la novela homónima que leí hace unos meses. El libro no me gustó tanto como el algo más reciente “Grotesque” de Natsuo Kirino, pero tenía su gracia: el descuartizamiento de un cadáver por un grupo de amas de casa se convierte de forma poco verosímil en un negocio mafioso.

The beginning of the movie is absolutely faithful to the novel, even taking into account the depiction of the 4 main female characters; any watcher happens to hate the brand-loving immature and trouble-maker “oneesan” the same way you hate her when you read the book. The problem starts in the last part, as always happens with adaptations. Since the movie is addressed to an even broader audience (and less cultured), the director includes a mini road-movie sequence with a romantique camaradery touch -the Japanese love those things, it’s even worse than Hollywood- and becomes even less verissimilar than the endless sadomasochistic fight at the end of the novel.

Kirino is a feminist who likes to show the dark side of Japan and shows the inconsistences between the ideal naive and childish family society sold and shown on TV, and reality, a world of a Hobbessian man-is-wolf-to-man with family members who don’t talk to each other or don’t talk at all, with violent husbands who spend the family savings in pachinko and hostess, or with thirty-something losers who fight depression with the buying of brand-new items (in America they just use Prozac). In “Grotesque” she is even harder cause she points at the very young ones, since high school, trapped between brands and sex to get them, a result of the lack of real and/or realistic values in the modern Japanese society, at the same time obsessed with social rules. Anyway, she likes to denounce that gap between the public and the private, an abyss in Japan. And she is a feminist because for good or for bad, the characters with some humanity and guts are always women. Her men are selfish, coward, stupid, violent, lecherous, unhuman or all the previous things together. Maybe she is right and we are most times like that…or only the Japanese?

The fact is that if Kirino had directed the movie, it wouldn’t have been so “amai”.


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