more or less the same reaction as the last time I saw it: it's like Rohmer had the idea for the 1st segment (brilliant, 5/5 stars, top Rohmer) and knew it was too short for a feature so he built a film around it under the (admittedly very charming) gimmick of two young French girls having very Rohmerian "adventures" — the problem is the other sections end up afterthoughts.
of fools and happiness indices. with the arrival of arch villain with a bullet-in-the-head Wallace Chung, the plot burns like a lit fuse. three opposing egos each bent on playing god compete amid a steady accumulation of plot details that ought to surely add up to something. a moral parable set to a ringtone whistled tune whose blitheness suggests a vast emptiness, Mozart skeletonized, though it might just as easily have been Grieg. it's either horrifying or it's black, black…
sprawled out, lazy ol' masterpiece about sincerely really trying your best while you're still young enough. Yamashita eschews ironic distancing and strained intimacy, instead filming these youth with attentiveness and concern for their struggles, love and respect for their individual personhood, an almost unthinkable strategy for a teen movie.