Kaspar Astrup Schröder: I Want to Cheer Up Ltd.
Skrevet den 21-08-2012 00:15:57 af Tue Steen Müller
The Danish director behind ”The Invention of Dr. Nakamats” and ”My Playground” was praised by filmkommentaren last year through the words:”A multi-artist, an original talent, who also makes films... definitely a refreshing new talent in Danish documentary”.
In his new documentary, the second one he has shot in Japan, he shows – with the help of a Japanese woman behind the camera – we hear her questions to the main character Ryuichi Ichinokawa but we do not see her – huge talent for getting close to the man, whose normal job is to bring out post and parcels, with the addition that he runs a company that offers special service to families, or rather to people who do not have “enough” family members for weddings, receptions etc. So Mr. Ichinokawa steps in as organiser, as a kind of metteur-en-scène, including himself to play a father for a young girl, who wants her boyfriend to meet the father in order to get his permission to live together before eventual marriage.
This is a fine, entertaining and attractive invitation to watch the film that, however, turns out to be much more about Mr. Ichinokawa’s problems with his private life in a family, where love between Mr. Ichinokawa and his wife seems gone long ago, with him working to make the family with two children survive. Mr. Ichinokawa talks about his hell of a life, very few things seem to be good for him, yes he adores the dog of the house! And he says openly to camera that he has often thought of taking his own life.
His family knows nothing about his job as a helper for other people to repair their relationship. Mr. Ichinokawa builds up to tell his wife, which he does at the (far too abrupt) end of the film.
The family situation and the main character’s strong melancholy and small appetite on life fills up – it feels so – a big part of a film that through lack of more layers and a development of the identity theme becomes repetitive and flat in structure accompanied by a strong music score that serves to bring energy to scenes that lack strength. I hate to use this cliché of television commissioners but maybe the film is too long and Mr. Ichinokawa no strong and interesting enough to carry the story.
The film premieres in 50 cinemas in Denmark this Wednesday August 22 through the excellent DoxBio initiative that brings documentaries to cinemas.
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