Title: Tsuburo no gara

Also known as:

Year: 2004

Genre: Drama / Cyberpunk / Art House

Language: Japanese

Runtime: 68 min

Director: Masafumi Yamada

Writer: Masafumi Yamada

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0459575/

Inside a locked, dark room a man and a woman are struggling to get out. The man has a big metal object attached to his spine and the woman in the room with him is his nurse. Because of the man's mental state, he's being dragged into dreams of past and alternate realities, and his nurse tries to make a hole in the wall to get out. They soon find themselves in hopelessness.

Our thoughts:
"Tsuburo no gara" is a movie I had never heard of before. Maybe it's because the only release of it is on a festival DVD entitled "Pia Film Festival PFF Award 2004 Vol.5", without subtitles. And yes, this means I watched it without subtitles. This will probably affect part of the viewing and understanding. This is one of few movies I have watched without subtitles that I actually felt I really wanted them. In many cases I only watch a movie without subtitles if people claim it's not needed, or that there isn't much talking. And most often they are right, but with "Tsuburo no gara" I think I missed some things I would've needed to really "get" the movie.

Unlike many other cyberpunk movies (this might be just borderline cyberpunk, but definitely fits the bill), this was a very calm and emotional film. The hopelessness of the two people (the man with the metal object on his back and his nurse) that are locked into the dark room with no way to get out was very apparent to me as I watched it, and that part of the film actually managed to impress me more than the visuals. Much might not be happening in the film since they are stuck in that room (with some brief memories/dreams that take place outside of it) but the 68 minutes went on really quick. The movie doesn't have a strong build up but still managed to have an ending that made the movie worthwhile, and I'll actually say that the final part of the movie was superior to the rest of the film. Maybe it was because more went on, maybe it's because the emotions felt stronger, or maybe it was just because it involved more of the man with the metal object, other than him laying face down on the ground.

The film is very audio-visual, something it manages with close to no soundtrack. Instead it has industrial sounds and other ambient noises to help the great visuals to achieve what they were set out to do. As for the effects of the metal object, it's pretty much just a piece of junk, but thanks to the simple addition of a neck brace and whatnot, it went above just being a metal object on a person's back, and actually felt like a condition, which obviously helps us understand the suffering the person is going through.

Needless to say, this is highly recommended. It's a nice addition to the pile of cyberpunk movies I've watched lately. If only this could be released with subtitles, it could definitely become a favorite of mine (something I don't want to call it when I might be missing important parts). It's very slow paced and not much is going on. It's not a chaotic movie in any way, so if you expect another hyperactive psycho cyberpunk movie (you might know which one I'm referring to), you're heading the wrong direction. What we have here is alot more drama, emotions and calm characters.

Positive things:
- Great visuals, camera work and... hell, overall filmmaking.
- More emotional than I expected.
- Has a very calm and dark feel to it.
Negative things:
- I didn't get to watch it with subtitles.

Gore: 0/5
Nudity: 0/5
Story: 4/5
Effects: 4/5
Comedy: 0/5

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