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West North West

Seihokusei

Differing cultures collide and pent up feelings explored in this exquisite melodrama from Japan.

Image from West North West

Dir-Scr Takuro Nakamura
Prod Hao Qing, Han Yu, Kaihei Shiota
With Hanae Kan, Rosa Sahel, Yuka Yamauchi
Japan 2015
125min
Prod Co studio 402, Hao & Han Films

Cultural and sexual boundaries are both confronted and shied away from in this exquisite melodrama set in present-day Japan. Kei, a taciturn cocktail waitress finds her tempestuous relationship with hot-headed model Ai emotionally unsatisfying. In a café one evening, she comes to the aid of Naima, an Iranian student studying Japanese art. The two soon become fast friends, despite the chasm of cultural difference that exists between them. As they cautiously figure out what they mean to each other, the increasingly jealous Ai makes demands of Kei. It leads to confrontations and confessions, and the possibility of a future Kei didn’t even know she wanted. Hanae Kan is achingly honest in her portrayal of the confused Kei, playing opposite the equally captivating Rosa Sahel as Naima. Together, their characters’ chemistry is palpable.

Emma Smart

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