A 20-something Kazuhiko’s life is going nowhere. After graduating from a prestigious university, he barely works part-time while living at home with his parents. He takes up an easy job at a public bathhouse, but accidentally witnesses that his workplace has been used for executions after hours. Having seen too much, Kazuhiko is forced to join in the bathhouse’s murderous sideline. His uninspiring life has now taken a bizarre and thrilling turn, with everything in his life at stake.
( 114 min. )
Available in US, Canada, UK
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Japanese with English subtitles
By mixing crime, romance, friendship, and a pinch of violence into a coming-of-age narrative, Tanaka has succeeded in crafting a truly entertaining statement against oppressive control and the importance of finding, on one’s own subjective account, moments of relational happiness. One can only do right by this new talent, by watching his touching and, in essence, humanistic narrative.
Think Robert De Niro in “Taxi Driver”, or Dustin Hoffman in “The Graduate”. Yoji Minagawa has the potential for many intriguing characters in what would be an exciting future for Japanese Cinema. ..... It’s the lens in which the story is framed, the eyes through which we see through, and how elements of other genres are woven together that make it such a unique and fantastical debut.
I am more surprised than anyone that a small independent film that I created with two of my friends has spread like this, especially as it was out of a simple desire to make a film that we can screen in theaters. Public baths exist across the world, but sento have a very unique atmosphere and stimulate our imagination. I cannot help but feel that the action of “cleansing and warming your body” is symbolic, and even a wall art and a row of washbowls you see at sento are intriguing. This film “Melancholic” was born when such unique place sento met our pure desire to make an engaging film.