Plastic Love Story

Plastic Love Story

Up and coming director shows promise and creativity


Originally published on on January 2014

I feel it’s the mission of this column to search out lesser-known filmmakers in Japan if they show promise and creativity. Ryutaro Nakagawa fits the bill perfectly. This twenty-something auteur is part of the Tokyo New Cinema collective, which is revitalizing Japanese film without the backing of any studio. His feature debut, Calling, won the Best Cinematography prize at the Boston International Film Festival last year. Now he follows up with Plastic Love Story, in which he continues to depict the everyday issues and emotional troubles of Japanese youth. His style is both lyrical and powerful, and his new work is a triptych that portrays the struggles of three unrelated young women. Eri is worried she’s pregnant when she gets handed a videotape of a former classmate who committed suicide and visits their now-abandoned high school. Another character, Rina, isn’t feeling any affection from her boyfriend when she suddenly meets Toru, a janitor busy taking care of his senile grandmother. Finally, Kanae is miserable in the small town by the sea where she lost her brother, until she meets Kiyoshi.  With his finger on the pulse of the current generation, Nakagawa’s stories are told with beautiful cinematography and emotive power. (124 min)

Now Showing at Shimokitazawa Tollywood.