5.0, Japan

Memories of Matsuko

New York Asian Film Festival2006 / Tetsuya Nakashima > Considering I couldn’t bear more than 30 minutes of Nakashima’s Kamikaze Girls, imagine my surprise when I found Memories of Matsuko creeping up my mind months after having watched it. While it may be a ridiculous musical with an abrasive color palette, misplaced violence and oodles of sexual innuendo, it also ends up falling just short of being a masterpiece of human resilience.

Miki Nakatani’s portrayal of Matsuko is one of the year’s great performances, showing a wide emotional range while still successfully hitting every note. Her ability to be a chameleon is further complimented by Nakashima’s storyline of life’s ironies and heartbreaks that span multiple occupations and decades, creating an epic of personal proportions. This is a story about one person, a very normal person who has dreams like the rest of us. And this is the story of one whose dreams don’t come true in the fashion that was intended, but magically we find solace in the fact that life isn’t dictated by those failed dreams.