The female as idealized by legendary contemporary poet and novelist, Saisei Murou (1889-1962), in his ultra-surreal novel about a unique relationship be-tween a woman-goldfish shapeshifter and an aging writer, is beautifully ren-dered as a feature film in Bitter Honey under the cinematic stewardship of fantasy film director, Gakuryu Ishii (Isn’t Anyone Alive?, ’12 & Flower of Shanidar, ’13). The film pairs Fumi Nikaido (Himizu, ’12) with sea-soned actor Ren Osugi (HANA-BI, ‘98) along with Yoko Maki as the ghost of a past girlfriend and Kengo Kora as legendary Taisho Period writer, Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927).
The heroine Fumi Nikaido, sometimes a young woman, at other times ap-pearing as a goldfish, takes up residence with an aging writer and contends with his mysterious romantic past. Master fantasy director, Gakuryu Ishii, unleashes his unique cinematic vision with a sensual, retro world view interlaced with mu-sical elements.
Using an endearingly deprecating form of “atai” (lit.“I”), Akako (Fumi Nikaido) spends her days happily in the company of an aging writer (Ren Osugi) whom she respectfully calls “ojisama” (lit. “lord uncle” or “gentleman”). Although very far apart in age, the couple converse endlessly. At night, they sleep side by side like a contented married couple. But Akako is at times human and at other times a bright red goldfish, a shapeshifter whose true form is unknown to others. Disrupting the idyllic yet surreal relationship is the appearance of a ghost from the writer’s past, his former lover.
■ JAPAN CUTS (2016)
■ 20th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (2016)
- World Fantastic Blue
■ 19th Shanghai International Film Festival (2016)
■ Singapore Japanese Film Festival (2016)
■ Japan Filmfest Hamburg (2016)
- Fumi Nikaido (二階堂ふみ), Ren Osugi (大杉蓮), Yoko Maki (真木よう子), Kengo Kora (高良健吾)
- Gakuryu Ishii (石井岳龍)
- Japan release
- April 1, 2016
- Drama, Romance
- Technical Specs
- Color / 1:1.85 / Digital / 5.1ch