Kento Nagayama enters the bold territory in ‘The Cowards Who Looked Up to the Sky’

The Cowards Who Looked Up to The Sky is supposed to be released across Japan on the 17th of this month, and it will mark a further step forward in the acting career of Kento Nagayama (Eita’s younger brother). Shown recently at the Toronto International Film Festival, it garnered various reactions from the audience and generated mixed reviews.

Giovanna Fulvi relates:

Based on the award-winning novel of the same name, director Yuki Tanada’s The Cowards Who Looked to the Sky is a boldly erotic yet movingly tender portrait of a group of damaged people — mothers, sons and lovers — whose intersecting stories yield both sorrow and a fragile, yet enduring, hope for a brighter future. Anzu (Tomoko Tabata) is a depressed housewife whose days are spent undergoing fertility treatments and enduring her mother-in-law’s nagging and her husband’s indifference. Channelling her dissatisfactions into rabid anime fandom, she attends a convention costumed as her favourite character. There, she meets a handsome high-school boy named Takumi (Kento Nagayama), whom she seduces (while still in her character’s outfit). The two begin an affair, and the secret trysts with her young lover become Anzu’s only escape from her grim reality. After a classmate confesses that she is in love with him, Takumi resolves to not see Anzu anymore — but he soon realizes that the attraction he feels for Anzu might very well be true love. He and Anzu resume their affair, but when one of their secret encounters is filmed and uploaded to the internet, the consequences for both could be disastrous. [ read more ]

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Maggie Lee at Variety reviewed the film, and said:

Offering a well-meaning, downbeat take on domestic entrapment, teenage angst and suburban ennui, “The Cowards Who Looked to the Sky” plays like a pink film for social workers. Helmer Yuki Tanada examines hot-button topics like transgressive sex and cyber-age voyeurism without belittling her protags — a cheating housewife and a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. However, there’s a joyless earnestness and narrative heaviness here, in contrast with the light, candid expression of youthful sensibilities in Tanada’s “Ain’t No Tomorrows” and “One Million Yen Girl.” Pic’s controversial nature will whet festival and ancillary appetites, though a significant trim is in order. [ read more ]

JFilmPowWow also interviewed and director, Yuki Tanada and posted the following remarks:

The Cowards Who Looked to the Sky will be receiving a theatrical release in Japan this November, just in advance of Japan’s film awards season next spring. By then, though, we may not only see Yuki Tanada gaining praise for her directing, but also for her skills as an author. Her absence from filmmaking since 2008’s Ain’t No Tomorrows was largely due to the fact that Tanada has been hard at work writing her debut novel. “If I had to describe the novel in one word I would have to say ‘revenge’,” she says of this new literary venture, “It’s very dark.” Despite its darkness the book will also delve into some happy memories from Tanada’s youth. “It also includes a lot about a Japanese matsuri [festival] that I experienced and that touched me when I was little, so the festival is part of the story.” There are no plans, at least at the moment, for Tanada to adapt her own novel to the screen. Her main focus now is simply meeting her publisher’s deadline. “The first deadline was two years ago!” she chuckles, “but it is almost completed, so next year it should be out.” [ read more ]

I have no idea how Japanese moviegoers will react to the film, but in terms of acting, I look forward to watching Kento Nagayama as the young house school teen who fell in love with an older woman. That would be a great acting piece of the young Nagayama.

 

Are you interested in watching this movie? Are you a fan of Kento Nagayama? Let us know what you think!

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