Sunday, September 23, 2007

[Japanese Film Festival] Moon & Cherry (月とチェリー / Tsuki To Cherry)


An erotic literature writing club? Now that's something new!

The closing film for this year's Japanese Film Festival, given the audience's most positive reaction, I'm quite certain that this edition has closed with literally a big bang. While the premise might be refreshing and sexy, at its core is an unconventional love story between a boy and a girl, in a reversal of roles from the traditional way such characters will turn out to be. The boy, Sakamoto (Akira Emoto) is quite soft spoken and indecisive, while the girl, Mayama (Noriko Eguchi) is an alpha-female, who knows what she wants, and exactly what she must do to achieve her aims, and that includes sleeping her way for it.

Mayama is the writing club's only female writer, and a prolific one too, who writes under a pseudonym, and as fuel for her new novel, she engages the 21 year old virgin to the club, Sakamoto, in a cat and mouse game, using her to help translate emotions onto the written page. So while Sakamoto feels used (having his cherry popped), he can't help but fall in love with Mayama, whose games get bolder and more daring as she seeks to observe how Sakamoto's experience and sexual enlightenment can provide her with a new perspective to her literary works.

It's also a look at modern day relationships, and the question, to a guy, perhaps on what kinds of girls would you want to be associated with. On the other end of the spectrum, there's Akane (Misako Hirata), a fellow colleague at the bookstore that Sakamoto works in. She looks better, panders to Sakamoto's wishes, basically one of the modern day cutie pies with sugar so sweet it can give you diabetes just by hanging out with her. And I thought what it was quite spot on in its offering and comparisons of the two ladies, in whether you would prefer to love and continue your pursuit for that unattainable someone, or be satisfied with and loving in return, someone who loves you a lot more (note that I use the L-word here quite loosely).

Moon and Cherry is a comedy of epic sexual proportions, and its digibeta format and raw look and feel does bring back certain memories of the first American Pie. However, the only drawback here is that the lighting throughout the film looked somewhat dim, but don't let that be an obstacle to enjoying a sassy, fun movie. Don't expect many laugh-out-loud moments, though Moon and Cherry certainly has its charm in punctuating portions of the narrative with very placed humour that hits you when you least expect it to.

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