Monday, December 22, 2008

Only Yesterday

Omohide Poro Poro; animated drama, Japan, 1991; D: Isao Takahata, S: Miki Imai, Youka Honna, Toshiro Yanagiba, Mayumi Iizuka

Tokyo. The 27-year old and unmarried girl Taeko takes a 10 day vacation in order to take a break from her stressful job and go to nature, or more precise to visit her elder sister's in-laws farm. During her voyage, she remembers her adventures when she was 10 and went to elementary school. On the train station she is picked up by Toshio, a young lad who works near the farm. With time, Taeko finds pleasure in her life in nature, the same she loved when she was 10, falls in love with Toshio and decides to stay with him.

Bitter-sweet, nostalgic anime drama "Only Yesterday" is quite an unusual little movie. The double story in one - the one that follows the girl Taeko while she is 27, and the other Taeko while she is 10 - is fragmentary and colloid, some parts seem completely out of context (for instance, when Taeko is remembering a dirty boy from elementary school for whom she felt pity) or logic, the 2 hour running time is definitely too long whereas some moments seem forced and contrived. But, despite its flaws, the movie contains some kind of magic and humanity that are rarely found and thus transcends everything else. It's as poetic as walking on air since it's simply filled with opulent 'slice-of-lice' situations with a point, from those that are miraculous (Hirota admits to Taeko (10) that he is in love with her, upon which she runs from joy, "flies" off to the sky and falls to bed, while the 27-year old Taeko smiles blissfully remembering that moment) up to the ones that are inventive (The 27-year old and the 10-year old Taeko in the same shot), all giving a touching picture as a whole. Besides that, the unforgettable ending is something that has to be seen because it brings the whole story to a new level and redeems for all the omissions. Just when the viewers think this is it, the story is over, and the closing credits start to roll - the real conclusion suddenly shows up and sets in. Actually, the ending is so magical because it does precisely that what we would want it to do us and the way it should do to us, even though we didn't even know we needed it.


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