Cast: Kei Ishibashi, Kami Hiraiwa, Ryuta Furuya, Kenji Iwatani, Hiroaki Morooka, Takashi Okabe, Atsushi Hashimoto
JAPAN CUTS 2017:
Folding out like a stage play, Kenji Yamauchi's At the Terrace takes place all on one location, the terrace, attached to a large mansion, where the owners are hosting a party. A woman walks out from behind the curtains on to this terrace, slowly followed by a young man from another side of the house. He seems infatuated by her, trying to garner her attention, without being too obvious. After letting out a pathetic sigh, another woman, the owner's wife, walks upon the terrace and starts to call out the man for his desires. This is just the scratched surface of the confrontational banter to come between our seven characters who come and go from this particular place.
Firstly, the film is absolutely hilarious. The dialogue is on par with the likes of South Korea's conversation driven auteur, Hong Sang-soo, and that is a huge compliment from me, as Hong is easily one of my favorite filmmakers out there. That is not to say this mimics or even tries to be a HSS film, but reflects the man as such in dialogue alone. The characters reminded me of his works as well to an extent, but they are very much their own types, and in a lot of ways, much more developed than those of his movies. You go from liking the characters to despising them and back to liking them once more, constantly. I love the constant shift of who you will side with and who you like and dislike all together. Everyone here are as enjoyable of characters as they are despicable, and that is a true feat to Yamauchi's phenomenal writing.
|Whose arms are better, that is the question!
In terms of a plot, it is essentially nonexistent, but it is perfect for a film like this. Again, it's all about human interaction here, and that is the entirety of this film. Alcohol and lusty desires make up a majority of the basis for which these conversations and arguments stem from. Who is with who, and why they are, or aren't, all become more apparent as the film goes on, and it throws some hilarious twists all the way up to the finish. From multiple characters having the same first name, to the man who works for "That Toyota?", and a compliment on our leading lady's arms that sparks the core rage of our opposite leading female, these topics at hand lend themselves to concieve some truly hilarious dialogues.
|When the drinks come out.
Written by Josh Parmer