Hole in the Sky

While Japanese writer-director Kazuyoshi Kumakiri holds attention with the subdued intensity of his approach, this austere meditation on love, rejection and abandonment is too lethargic to attract more than a limited festival following.

With:
With: Susumu Terajima, Yuriko Kikuchi, Bunmei Tobayama, Syunsuke Sawada, Syunsuke Gondo.

A somber slice of melancholic minimalism about the owner of a lazy roadside diner who reaches out for affection to a drifter dumped by her lover, “Hole in the Sky” conjures a sorrowful atmosphere of physical and emotional isolation. But while Japanese writer-director Kazuyoshi Kumakiri holds attention with the subdued intensity of his approach, this austere meditation on love, rejection and abandonment is too lethargic to attract more than a limited festival following.

Taking its cue from the title, the action revolves around an eatery in a remote island area, arrestingly photographed as an insignificant dot on the landscape against an endless blue sky. Into this setting wanders young mainlander Taeko (Yuriko Kikuchi), whose boyfriend leaves her without cash. Obtaining food and shelter from the diner’s owner Ichio (Susumu Terajima), she halfheartedly slips into a romance with the lonely man, trapped in the nowhere place while his gambling father flits about the countryside. The short-lived experience eventually helps Ichio acknowledge and accept the painful episodes of his past. Overlong but compassionately observed drama is distinguished by its dreamy, lyrical mood and potent sense of stillness.

Hole in the Sky

Japan

Production: A PIA Corp./Flamingo/Beam Entertainment production. (International sales: PIA Corp., Tokyo.) Produced by Hidetoshi Morimoto, Mayumi Amano, Kazuki Nakamura. Executive producers, Hiroshi Yanai, Satoshi Akagi, Haruo Kawashima. Directed, written, edited by Kazuyoshi Kumakiri.

Crew: Camera (color), Kiyoaki Hashimoto; music, Akira Matsumoto; art director, Toru Nishimura. Reviewed at Rotterdam Film Festival (competing), Jan. 31, 2001. (Also in Berlin Film Festival -- Forum.) Running time: 131 MIN.

With: With: Susumu Terajima, Yuriko Kikuchi, Bunmei Tobayama, Syunsuke Sawada, Syunsuke Gondo.

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