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The Film


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Last Viewed:2006.03.27
First/Last Reviewed:2006.03.27/2006.04.25

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ldh's review

A battle of wits between two smart people is probably one of the most enjoyable things to watch. It is even more so when such a battle is laced with humor and strong and intelligent political content, all wrapped up in a delicious satire. Based on a successful 1996 Japanese play, this very simple film takes place at the beginning of WWII in Japan and chronicles the difficulties a young comedy writer has with a stodgy censor in approving his new play. Arguments for whether such passage should be censored or not go from the deeply meaningful to the completely absurd in matter of minutes. The young writer is often faced with completely illogical requests that he cannot accept.

The writing is absolutely pitch perfect. There are many hilarious moments such as when the Writer suggests he wouldn't eat any Sushi made by Churchill, not because he is the enemy, but because he'd simply make terrible Sushi and goes on to add he wouldn't touch any Sushi made by Hitler either (stay till the end of the credits for very funny visuals). The film is full of details and insight into the absurdity of censorship in general.

The film is mostly shot in one room, and the camera seems to never stand still. This is not a play on film and the director took advantage of every technical option he had to inject great dynamicity and humor in every shot, making great use of skillful editing and inserting funny visuals. The two lead actors are first rate and the story and its funny points translate without any difficulty (a rarity). Finally, the music feels very Nino Rota-like and out of place but strangely ends up adding to the wonderful feeling of this movie.

- Laurent Hasson