Director Edmund Yeo‘s Moonlight Shadow, a poetic and moving adaptation of Banana Yoshimoto‘s famous novella still on its journey through countries, festivals and streaming options: first Japan, then Taïwan and Malaysia, the next theatrical release date is February 10 for Thailand. On the same day, it will be streamed in Japan via Netflix. Other regions for either Netflix or Viki should be announced in the coming weeks…
Satsuki, running… in the vain hope it will sweep away the pain. Just one of the many emotional moments from this delicate movie in which Komatsu Nana really delivered a great and sensitive performance. Music by Aaken.
Currently broadcast by Wowow TV (Japan), the movie should be available soon on Viki (Europe) and Netflix (regions not set as of today). DVD/Bluray editions will be available at some point in Spring, late March or beginning of April.
Moonlight Shadow had its Japanese theatrical release on September 10 so Monday’s screening at T.I.F.F. hardly was a premiere for the film which was part of the Nippon Cinema Now selection. It was though, for actress Komatsu Nana who officially attended the famous festival for the very first time. On November 1, at 6.20 p.m. JST, the lights went off at the Toho Cinema in Hibiya, Tokyo and the audience watched Edmund Yeo’s poetic adaptation of Banana Yoshimoto‘s novella.
It’s a journey into pain, sorrow and grief yet with a touch of lightness as well as hope and recovery in the end. Having watched it four times, I won’t back down: the film is beauty, Nana Komatsu’s perf a stellar one.
Kong Pahurak, cinematographer for Moonlight Shadow, has posted many pics on his Instagram account. Whether they’re film stills or on-the-set shots they tell a different story or rather, they tell the same story but from a different perspective. Here’s a selection.
‘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. …