Monday, June 23, 2014

Cutie and the Boxer - making a mark in the world.




Ushio Shinohara and his wife Noriko are both artists in New York. They love a bohemian life. Shinohara is well know for his work but is not commercially successful. He migrated to the US after finding fame in Japan for his riff on pop art.

Noriko arrives in the US, a young art student, meets Shinohara and falls for his manic charms. It's not long before he is sponging off her family allowance to pay rent.

Time passes. They marry and have a child. It seems Noriko is destined to become her husband's assistant - he is much older than she is, though neither are young anymore. She harbours her own dream of artistic recognition via her created persona of Cutie.

It is a meticulously shot piece, akin to the documentary classic Gray Gardens. Most of the observed narrative is in Japanese but it doesn't matter. We understand. When Noriko steps back from his work to see it in toto he seems to be looking back on his life as he utters 'crap' between words in his native tongue.

In a way the film is inconsequential like a pebble garden that is raked this way and that by the film maker but is never anything but a pebble garden. And there is nothing wrong with that.

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