2001-2010ArthouseDramaJapanJun Ichikawa

Jun Ichikawa – Tonî Takitani AKA Tony Takitani (2004)

When technical illustrator Tony Takitani asks his wife to resist her all-consuming obsession for designer clothes, the consequences are tragic.

Against all odds, director Jun Ichikawa has successfully adapted Haruki Murakami for the screen, transforming one of the writer’s lyrical short stories into an equally lyrical film. “Tony Takitani” is as detached and melancholy as its subject, a technical illustrator (Takitani, played with muted sorrow by Issey Ogata) in love with a woman (Rie Miyazawa) whose perfection conceals a spiritual flaw.

Tony is born into isolation, burdened with a roaming jazz musician for a father, a mother who died in childbirth and an unfashionably Western name. A virtuoso at drawing machines but lost when it comes to human beings, he is just sliding into middle age when his hermetic world is breached by the appearance of a wisp named Eiko. She is perfection in form, but as spiritually bereft as Tony. While he dwells on machines, she is compelled to buy “an alarming number of clothes.”

Together, they embody the psychological fallout of Japan’s postwar boom: equal parts technical precision and compulsive materialism. “I’ve never met anyone who inhabits her clothes with such obvious relish as you,” Tony tells his love. She replies that she feels “clothes fill up what’s missing” inside of her. Their respective obsessions form a perfect union until Eiko is consumed by her own consumerism, and Tony finds himself alone again — with a pivotal difference. This time he recognizes his solitude for what it is and aches for what he’s missing.

Directed with economy and an elegant eye, Ichikawa’s visuals resonate beneath their simplicity, with monochromatic backgrounds doubling as expressionistic landscapes. The camera pans from left to right, from scene to scene and time to time, observing Tony through an omniscient voiceover occasionally punctuated by the characters’ own self-narrative.

Ryuichi Sakamoto’s piano soundtrack is equally muted as it underscores the film’s vision of emotional desolation within a free-market heaven. Whether you view it as a metaphor for a country or a singular study of the human condition, “Tony Takitani” explores the borders between solitude and loneliness, hunger and consumption, memory and loss. Ichikawa has made a film that’s more a visual poem than a narrative, and all the more exquisite for it.

— Neva Chonin


Container:  	Matroska
Runtime: 	1 h 16 min
Size: 	1.72 GiB
Codec: 	x264
Resolution: 	1024x554 
Aspect ratio:  	1.85:1
Frame rate: 	23.976 fps
Bit rate: 	3 000 kb/s
BPP: 	0.221
#1:  	Japanese 2.0ch AC-3 @ 224 kb/s




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