When I was in my late teens my recently deceased grandmother used to advise against women in search of a young, handsome and professionally promising husband through disloyal means. Be extremely careful –she would tell me in the terrace of my parents apartment in Madrid and far from my mother’s ears-, when you go with a woman take your own condom -“globito”, little toy balloon, was the word she preferred-, don’t allow her to give you one, because she will have pierced it with a needle and that will be the end of it”. How wise my grandma was and how universal life is, no matter be Spain in the 80’s or Japan nowadays.
Toshiko, the protagonist’s best friend in the recent Japanese movie Konzen Tokyu, Express wedding or Rushing to get married, confesses Chie that she intentionally punched a hole in his boyfriend’s condom so that she could get pregnant and marry him. 24-year-old Chie gets shocked by the wedding announcement, even annoyed; but not so much for her friend’s behavior but because she has gotten a marriage before herself. And she eventually mimics Toshiko; but before that, she must decide which one of the 5 guys she is dating is the most appropriate to do so. In a comedy tone and emulating the infamous Bridget Jones, she writes in her agenda-diary her men’s merits and demerits. There is all kind of ages –from 54 to 19-, personalities –although most of them the 優しい kind type- and professions –from a hairdresser’s owner to a college student who is so young that he is cute (「若くて可愛い」, wakakute kawaii). This is the most hilarious part of the film, I must confess.
On the other side, the depiction of a multidating Japanese young woman might look hyperbolic but it’s not that far from reality in this present society of freedom, fast cell-phone-Facebook communication and lack of specificity: 用事がある, “I already have plans” can be a very effective an enough excuse to reject a date with your boyfriend-girlfriend. If s/he asks for more details, that would be considered rude and nosy, indeed.
The funny part of the story is that the supposedly liberated female protagonist is more traditional than what she believes she is herself and when she hears from one of the guys that he doesn’t consider her as a girlfriend but just as a sex-partner, she is finally aware that she is being used by the 5 guys the same way she is using them: the utilitarian sense of life and our actions many times also have an exact opposite. And she rushes to get back to a more conventional relationship.
Some interesting points and/or script lines in the movie are also stimulating for a good thinking or discussion: a female character tells one of the 5 guys about Chie that since she is beautiful she is allowed everything by everyone and because of that she grew up as a spoiled brat. How true is that and how unfair nature can be sometimes –I can’t stop thinking of Natsuo Kirino’s Grotesque and the story of the two sisters, the beautiful and the ugly one-. Connected with this is how an older person can lose his/her dignity to be with a younger and beautiful one, like the 54-year-old Masayoshi. As a Canadian colleague and friend of mine used to tell me: “Never beg a woman or she will not respect you”. But at the same time, like the writer Bernard Malamud says: “the source of youth is the presence of youth itself”. And that has a price.
There is also the topic of the selection. Which one is finally the chosen one? I won’t be an ending-spoiler but… when I asked a few female friends who haven’t seen the movie yet about it their answers were far different from what implausibly happens in the movie; it’s just a comedy, isn’t it?
The last image of a train leaving with the happy and married couple inside is just a metaphor of their future personal and material life.