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Shizuka na Seikatsu - The Quiet Life (Itami Juzo 1995)


Shizuka na Seikatsu
[The Quiet Life]

Genre: Autobiographical Family Drama and Coming of Age

review in one breath

This is not the type of movie I generally include among my reviews. (Just look at the "zero strangeness" score below!) But I've decided to list it here due to what might be worthy characteristics, namely the level of accomplishment by the writer and the fact that this is based on his own family's experience. Here I have only provided a brief overview of the film and some relevant information for those who have seen the film or wish to learn morn about it.

Shizuka na Seikatsu is directed by Itami Juzo and is based on the 1995 novel of the same name by Nobel Prize in Literature (1994) winner Kenzaburo Oe. The story revolves around the experiences of Iiyo, a mentally handicapped adolescent boy and his younger sister Maa as she cares for him in their parents' absence. The characters and story are loosely based on Oe's own handicapped son, and both father and son reflect on the movie adaptation in a very interesting interview contained on the VHS version. The movie was nominated for and won four Japanese Academy Awards.

The story deals directly with the unique difficulties faced by the handicapped and by their loved ones. Maa faces the difficulty of overcoming suspicions that Iiyo may somehow be inclined to harm children (which he isn't) and of locating someone of good character to help them (which she doesn't). Iiyo's difficulties include undergoing the humiliation of seizures in public and the sudden summoning of strength to aid his sister in the moment she needs him the most. The story is rather powerful in its own right, and certainly when accompanied with the mini-documentary of Oe and his son, in which Oe tries to imply that most of the movie, including Iiyo's courageous actions in rescuing his sister, are based on real life events.

cultural interest violence sex strangeness
Based on the novel by Japan's Nobel Laureate. A father's reflection of the experiences of his mentally handicapped son. No violence. One sudden, unsolicited boner. One thwarted (sexual) attack. Unlike every other movie reviewed here, this one scores "zero" in strangeness.

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