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Starlit High Noon

Death takes a holiday and hopes for romance in "Starlit High Noon," a lowkey, if occasionally stilted, Japanese melodrama about a self-sufficient assassin between gigs. Pic is too sluggish for general western auds but Asian-centered fests should seriously consider programming this one. Film has yet to be released in Japan.

With:
With: Kyoka Suzuki, Wang Leehom, Yu Kashii, Nana Yanagisawa.

Death takes a holiday and hopes for romance in “Starlit High Noon,” a lowkey, if occasionally stilted, Japanese melodrama about a self-sufficient assassin between gigs. Pic is too sluggish for general western auds but Asian-centered fests should seriously consider programming this one. Film has yet to be released in Japan.

After killing the boss of a Taipei gang, hitman Lian Song (Wang Leehom) goes to his usual safe house in a small seaside town in Okinawa, Japan. Satisfied with a job well done, he takes pleasure in his own company and, especially, his own cooking. Meanwhile, he finds himself tantalised by a sad woman, Yukiko (Kyoka Suzuki), he sees at the laundrette every Saturday night, and begins dreaming of settling down. Helmer Yosuke Nakagawa (“Blue Fish”) moves this tranquil reflection on vacation life at a strolling pace, but always with a gentle sparkle and quietly charming performances. At session caught, film’s 35mm print failed to arrive and a DVD copy was substituted. Nevertheless, image quality looked impressive.

Starlit High Noon

Japan

Production: A Horipro production. (International sales: Tayhoo Tokyo Co., Tokyo.) Produced by Kaori Otsuka, Keisuke Sanpei, Atsushi Sugai. Directed, written by Yosuke Nakagawa.

Crew: Camera (color), Hiroo Yanagida; editor, Hiroshi Okuda; music, Jyoji Sawada; production designer, Kyo Yasuda. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Feb. 16, 2005. Original title: Mahiru no hoshizora. Running time: 92 MIN.

With: With: Kyoka Suzuki, Wang Leehom, Yu Kashii, Nana Yanagisawa.

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