Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Yûreka (Shinji Aoyama, 2000) aka Eureka
Eureka (Shinji Aoyama, 2000)
Shinji Aoyama's artfully crafted three and a half hour+ arthouse epic traces the aftermath of a traumatic bus hijacking leaving six people dead and three survivors; two middle school siblings Naoki, Kozue, and the busdriver, Makoto. Shortly after the incident, Sawai leaves town and wanders aimlessly while the children's mother abandons them and their father dies. I should also mention that the children refuse to speak following the hijacking. Two years later, Makoto returns to the town to start a new life. At this point his wife has left him and his brother doesn't support him. With nowhere left to turn, Makoto decides to move in with the two children. Later the kid's cousin Akihiko, who also has suffered from a traumatic incident moves into their home as well. The four form a unique bond and depend on one another for support. On top of all this there is a series of murders taking place in the small town and Makoto is the primary suspect, as the murders start occurring upon his return. Although this synopsis sounds like a description for a high octane action thriller, it is instead a methodical dedramatized, suspenseless and gentle film about rediscovering life. Aoyama is known for his sporadic use of violence without much exposition leading up to it. The dialogue is minimal, but the ambient soundtrack plays an essential role in creating a hypnotically mesmerizing atmosphere much like an Antonioni film. There are a lot of long shots and long takes, and even some charming bits of comedy, despite being saturated with tragedy. The cinematography, composition, editing, and acting is all superbly done and the film is gorgeously tinted in a sepia tone.