A Tender Place

  • 201'
  • Japan
  • 2001
'On 9 October, my then-five-year-old daughter Yuka disappeared from a resort community near a lake in Hokkaido...' The opening narration in Nagasaki's masterful adaptation of a novel by Kirino Natsuo cuts straight to the heart of the matter. Trainee designer Kasumi has married her employer in Tokyo, the manager of a design workshop, and has had a two-year affair with one of his clients. She and her unsuspecting husband are vacationing in Hokkaido with her ex-lover and his wife when Yuka disappears without a trace. Distraught, Kasumi clings to the idea that Yuka is somewhere alive and safe. She returns to the spot every year, hoping to find a clue. Meanwhile her marriage nearly collapses, and her ex-lover's marriage does collapse. On her fifth visit to Hokkaido, she is shadowed by Utsumi, a detective who has his own ominous reasons for wanting to be involved... The extended running-time allows Nagasaki to reach for a novelistic depth of characterisation and a richness of plot. The film dramatises a number of possible explanations for Yuka's disappearance before planting the suspicion that we (along with Kasumi and Utsumi) have been looking in the wrong place. Utterly engrossing and supremely moving, this is some kinda masterpiece. (TR)
Director
Nagasaki Shunichi
Country of production
Japan
Production Year
2001
Festival Edition
IFFR 2002
Length
201'
Medium
Betacam Digi PAL
Original title
Yawaraka na hoo
Language
Japanese
Producers
BS-I, Office Shirous, Suzuki Takayuki, Sasaki Shiro, Sato Miyuki
Sales
Office Shirous
Screenplay
Nagasaki Shunichi
Editor
Nagasaki Shunichi