Moonlight Shadow Review
‘The sound of a bell lingers in my ear. It all started with that bell. This sound represented every single second I spent with Hitoshi. Every single day and night ! Sunny, rainy, cloudy and snowy days. The films we watched together, the books we read. The fights we had, our laughter and tears...” Before a tape recorder, a young woman spells out her grief. This touching scene is the opening sequence of the film; it will be repeated later on, complete and with an even stronger emotional load.
This young woman is Satsuki. The love of her life was killed in a car accident. With him was Yumiko, the girlfriend of Hiiragi, Hitoshi‘s younger brother, who also lost her life. Hiiragi wears Yumiko’s school uniform for mourning. For Satsuki, the process of healing is to run around breathlessly. She barely eats and is losing weight in a frightening way. She looks exhausted. One day, from the bridge where Satsuki and Hitoshi liked to meet, she sees a strange woman all dressed in black. She puts her finger to her lips as if to say ‘shhh’, an invitation to silence, to calm and to mystery.
Malaysian director Edmund Yeo‘s adaptation of Banana Yoshimoto‘s famous short story lives up to its promise. Kong Pahurak‘s photography is superb and the lights enhance the emotions. The soundtrack, composed by Aaken/Ton That An, has the same function, it delicately accompanies the film without intruding. While taking certain liberties in the construction of the narrative and in the introduction or development of secondary characters, the director conveys the very essence of the original work, its message and its tone: mourning, the inevitable passage of time, love and bitter-sweet humor. …read more