Director Kōji Fukada brings to the silver screen a magnificent cinematic piece that portrays, with utter authenticity, how powerless we are in the face of life, death and often times love. As one of the characters says at one point, there is no science or religion that can protect us from mortality.
Love Life is inspired by a song of the same name, composed by musician Akiko Yano. The film revolves around Taeko (Fumino Kimura) and her husband, Jirō Osawa (Kento Nagayama) facing love and life. The Osawa couple lives peacefully with Taeko’s young son Keita (Tetsuta Shimada), until a tragic accident brings the boy’s long-lost father, Park Shinji (Atom Sunada), back into the woman’s life. To cope with the pain and guilt, Taeko throws herself into helping this deaf-and-dumb, homeless man. On top of it more characters create havoc in the Osawa marriage, from Jirō’s former girlfriend Yamazaki (Hirona Yamazaki) to his mother (Misuzu Kanno) and father (Tomorowo Taguchi).
The bittersweet family drama had its world premiere at the 79th Venice International Film Festival and went on to conquer the Toronto International Film Festival and the Busan International Film Festival.
Kōji Fukada philosophises on unfinished business of those who unexpectedly depart from life, like a simple game of Othello. Similarly to the Shakespearean play where the Moor Othello was in conflict with the white Iago and Desdemona, the game brings to the surface the intricacies of romance. The green board becomes the emblematic colour of envy, a battlefield where players engulf the pieces of the opponent turning them to their possession, just like the characters of Love Life who get enveloped in the vicious circle of heartbreak.
Final Grade: A