Arthouse helming flash doesn’t pan out in selfishly inert love story “Su-Ki-Da,” sophomore effort from Japanese hyphenate Hiroshi Ishikawa, continuing the minimalism of his 2003 debut “Tokyo.Sky.” Director kudos at New Montreal fest notwithstanding, pic’s unchecked indulgences seal its fate.
A pair of 17-year-olds clearly like each other, but are incapable of expressing it. Yosuke (Eita) picks a plaintive, unfinished tune on his guitar, while Yu (Aoi Miyazaki) hovers and confides in older sis (Sayuri Oyamada) as she putters in kitchen. Seventeen years later, Yosuke (Hidetoshi Nishijima) has finally finished the song, though random and entirely unbelievable tragedy strikes before he can play it for Yu (Hiromi Nagasaku). Jump cuts, cryptic silences, shots of various cloud formations and long takes bereft of movement are key weapons in Ishikawa’s self-consciously arty arsenal, with little in the way of story or character development to engage viewers; Gus van Sant he’s not. In this context, a change of key by guitar-strumming young Yosuke is a major development. Tech credits are tidy, though the helmer’s strategy of cutting sound will have auds whistling for the projectionist. Title phrase is Japanese for “I love you.”