Aruitemo, Aruitemo: Walking away from the past

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To keep on walking is a good technique to metaphorically put some distance with the past, especially when memories are hurtful, and director Koreeda, now in Madrid, seems to send this message in his 2008’s film 歩いても、歩いてもAruitemo Aruitemo (Still walking), a fresh up-to-date depiction of a traditional Japanese family in the XXI century, like an Ozu’s film from the 50’s, but 60 years later. The fragile balance of apparently harmonious relationships only needs a word or even a silence to create a disruptive atmosphere full of recriminations. Father and son are afraid of words because these would force both of them to express their respective frustrations and fears; in the end, they cannot but blame themselves for the past. It’s women the ones who, behind their burikko behavior (actress and comedian YOU formidable as usual, same as the other two female protagonists) and helped by ritual house chores, soften men’s incapability to relate to each other and communicate. And the act of walking together restores for a moment the dreamed harmony. No wonder some of the most beautiful scenes in Japanese literature and cinema, at least my favorite ones, are represented in strolls, like in 細雪 Sasameyuki (The Makioka sisters) or in Manji (Quicksand).

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