Tony Takitani

Tony Takitani is all about loneliness. And the film, directed by Jun Ichikawa, is rather matter of fact about it. Growing up in Japan with an American name isolates Tony (Issey Ogata, The Sun) from his other Japanese classmates. And with a jazz musician father more involved in music than in him, Tony learns to be independent from a young age. He studies art in school, but his talent for drawing falls short because of his mechanical approach and a lack of emotion in his works. He makes few friends, and eventually finds his vocation as a technical draftsman.For someone who has never thought about tying the knot, Tony eventually falls hard and fast for Konuma Eiko (Miyazawa Rie, The Face of Jizo) whom he meets during a business encounter. Realizing that he has always been lonely, he suddenly becomes afraid of losing himself. Tony and Eiko marry, but things go slightly awry when he finds out that her passion for clothes is really a manic obsession with retail therapy. In a slightly bizarre turn of events, Eiko loses her life due to her sartorial addiction.Tony Takitani works well with a narrator putting into words what the characters flesh out on screen. Interestingly, characters smoothly pipe in and take over the narration intermittently without disrupting their movements, allowing the audience to engage with them while also maintaining a distance in line with the film’s theme of loneliness. You also get a sense of being propelled into the story, as scenes unfold in between blank spaces, like chapters of a book separated by the turning of a page (after all, the film is based on the classic book of the same name by Haruki Murakami).Watch this for its charming cinematography, and to appreciate the universal themes of alienation, comfort and loss.