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Hello Asia! Japanese Film Festival 2013 Review: Beyond the Memories (潔く柔く) (Japan, 2013)

Eight years before, Kanna experienced a tragic loss in her teen years which left her heart shattered and confused before she was old enough to truly understand love. Now in her twenties, she is making her way through life in her film company and enjoys hanging out with her co-worker at the local bar. One night, they are enjoying a meal when a drunken Akazawa tries to hit on the two ladies. Her co-worker claims Kanna always attracts the weirdos but is surprised when most of the attention goes to her.

The next day, Kanna goes to an advertising company to see that her usual contact has been replaced by last night’s drunkard. Akazawa pretends he doesn't recognise Kanna and berates her for trying to sell him a film that she hasn’t even seen. Akazawa is curious about her and tries to get to know Kanna but she tries her best to act distant.

Akazawa learns about Kanna's tragic past through her co-worker and when he confesses this to Kanna, he tells her a story from his past which led him to move away from his hometown, an event that still stops him in his tracks when the memories return to haunt him. As time goes by, Kanna opens up her heart to Akazawa because she is intrigued that another person can understand her so completely. But their feelings aren't enough to help Akazawa move on from his past.

The film moves at an interesting pace, starting in Kanna’s past while jumping several times into Akazawa’s past in the present time. It's a modern romance which is a heart warming story about young love and how to get over painful memories. It is well worth a watch because it is a sweet story without too much clutter from love triangles and jealousy. What sets the film apart is that it's a love story with where the two main characters are filled with a pain they are trying to hide from the world.

Review Score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Running Time: 127 minutes (w/English Subtitles)

Beyond The Memories is screening as part of the 17th annual Japanese Film Festival, for more information and session times please visit http://japanesefilmfestival.net

Upcoming Session Times
Melbourne 7 Dec 4:30pm (Hoyts Melbourne Central)