“Perfect Days”, Wenders' delicate homage to Japanese cinema“
A day full of great authors at the Cannes Film Festival: while Quentin Tarantino was the guest of an interesting conversation at the Quinzaine des Cinéastes, the new film by Wim Wenders, "Perfect Days", found its place in competition.
The protagonist is Hirayama, a humble man who works as a cleaner in Tokyo's public toilets. In addition to his work routine, Hirayama manages to cultivate his passions every day: music, books, photography and trees. Through his photographs, his readings and his listening, his strong sensitivity towards art and the world around him shines through.
Ever a great lover of Japanese cinema, in 1985 Wim Wenders had made a real homage in this sense with "Tokyo-Ga", a documentary dedicated to the extraordinary Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu, author of masterpieces such as "Late Spring" of 1949 and " Journey to Tokyo” from 1953. Ozu's spirit is also very much felt in this film, through Wenders' style which recalls those framing choices and that minimalist style typical of the Japanese author. Built around a silent character who is very attentive to every detail of his work, "Perfect Days" is a delicate film capable of involving, despite some passages that are too verbose.
Finding the beauty in the little things
Wenders' message with this film is very clear: to find the beauty and poetry of life in small things and small daily gestures, also and above all thanks to the help of art. In recent years, the German director has distinguished himself above all as documentarian (again this year in Cannes with “Anselm”), while his latest fiction works – from “Back to life” to “Submergence” – were totally forgettable. With "Perfect Days" instead he finds the right stylistic and narrative touch, also managing to move: despite being a small film on paper, his new feature film is successful and touching, even if there are no special sequences to remember at the end of the vision. Great proof of the protagonist Koji Yakusho, who enters the group of possible candidates for the title of best actor.
Another film presented in competition is "Last Summer" by Catherine Breillat. At the center of the plot is Anne, a brilliant lawyer who lives with her husband Pierre and their daughters. However, the woman begins a relationship with Theo, Pierre's son from a previous marriage, endangering her career and her family life. Ten years after the previous "Abus de faiblesse", the French director returns behind the camera for a story that would like to shake up and generate possible scandals. Always a skilled provocateur, Breillat takes up the narrative basis of the Danish film "Queen of Hearts" of 2019 to give life to a remake that is fully within her strings: more than the plot, it is above all the gaze of the French director, who has always been very careful to tell morbid relationships and not easy to read. The general design is intriguing, but there are too many forcings during viewing that make the film less effective than expected. The result is fluctuating, also due to a pace that is not always effective, but the good performance of the protagonist Léa Drucker should be noted, called to interpret a role that is certainly not easy.