About the Pink Sky ももいろそらを
2011, B&W/colour, 16:9, 113 mins
Directed by Kobayashi Keiichi (小林啓一)
By Derek Elley
Mon, 30 January 2012, 11:50 AM (HKT)
Shapeless low-key comedy with self-centred teens quickly alienates its audience. Festivals.
Chiba, east of Tokyo, the present day. Just before the start of the high-school summer break, student Kawashima Izumi (Ikeda Ai) finds a wallet containing ¥300,000 (US$4,000) on the street in a well-to-do neighbourhood. It belongs to Sato Koki (Takayama Tsubasa), son of Sato Kogu, a politican who is also head of Chiba's Horse Racing Association. Deciding the cash is "dirty money", she offers to give it to an old acquaintance whose printing business is on the verge of bankruptcy; finally, he accepts ¥200,000 and gives her an IOU. Izumi meets her friends - Ono Hasumi (Koshino Ena), who now likes to be called Haruko, and Mayuzumi Kaoru (Fujiwara Reiko) - and the older Hasumi takes charge of the wallet. Keen to meet Koki, whom she considers handsome, Hasumi insists they return the wallet, and Koki gives them ¥30,000 as a generous finder's fee. Later, however, Koki finds Izumi at the bowling alley where she's doing a summer job, and asks where the missing money is, as he's found the printer's IOU inside. Koki tells her he actually stole the money from his father's secret savings and needs it to make Kazumi, a friend who's in hospital, happy. He gives Izumi ¥20,000 so she can leave her temporary job, and suggests they start a one-sheet paper together, as Izumi is obsessed with reading and rating newspaper stories. Hasumi also meets Koki, and to curry favour with him agrees to all three of them producing the paper, with Izumi in charge of finding news. But Koki never seems satisfied with what they produce, and when Izumi starts to investigate at the hospital, she gets a surprise.
Stylishly shot in B&W — the only colour being some pink in the end titles — KOBAYASHI Keiichi 小林啓一's first feature About the Pink Sky ももいろそらを (2011) is a potentially interesting (very) light comedy that loses the viewer's interest pretty quickly thanks to terminally annoying characters and a leisurely tempo. Starting with a simple plot driver — a high-school girl from a modest background finds a wallet in the street containing a sizable amount of money — the film builds from there as one complication leads to another. However, Kobayashi, who has a solid background in music videos, commercials and TV shows, seems determined to alienate his audience with yards of vacuous dialogue between his three female leads as they row, make up, play power-games with each other and generally behave like spoiled teenage brats. The movie spends almost two hours hammering home the same point about youthful self-centredness, before introducing a mild twist in the final half-hour that seems purely opportunist and isn't developed.
As the grumpy, gutter-mouthed lead who's conducting her own war with society, 16-year-old IKEDA Ai 池田愛, in her first film role after TV work, shows signs of a talent that could blossom in better movies, and both FUJIWARA Reiko 藤原令子 and KOSHINO Ena 小篠恵奈 are both solid as her equally self-obsessed friends. As the handsome rich kid whose wallet comes into their lives, TAKAYAMA Tsubasa 高山翼 is simply decorative. The film's title refers to the colour of the sky at dusk, which one character yearns after.
ContactSales: Free Stone Productions, Tokyo (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com)
Premiere: Tokyo Film Festival (Japanese Eyes), 22 Oct 2011. Theatrical release: Japan, 12 Jan 2013.
Presented by Michaelgion (JP). Executive producer: Michael Gion. Producer: Harada Hiroshi.
Script: Kobayashi Keiichi. Photography: Kobayashi Keiichi. Editing: Kobayashi Keiichi. Music: none. Sound: Hidaka Naruyuki.
Cast: Ikeda Ai (Kawashima Izumi), Koshino Ena (Ono Hasumi/Haruko), Fujiwara Reiko (Mayuzumi Kaoru), Takayama Tsubasa (Sato Koki), Togetsuan Hakushu (Momotsuki Insatsu).