San Francisco International Film Festival @ BAM/PFA
“Japan is hopeless” is Tamako’s refrain, and she has good reason to believe it. Since graduating college, she has returned home to a cramped apartment in a small town and done little more than sleep and eat (punctuated occasionally by listless video gaming). She’s employed, in the loosest sense of the word, at her father’s sporting goods store. Her only friend is a nearly silent adolescent boy who occasionally visits the store. As Tamako makes tentative stabs at finding something, anything, to do with her future, catastrophe strikes: her dad starts dating someone! Her internal routine disrupted, Tamako faces two choices: either sabotage her dad’s burgeoning romance, or find a place for herself in the world. The refreshing Tamako in Moratorium takes place over the course of four seasons in an unnamed town. Written with affection and understanding for the position of both father and daughter and anchored by a triumphantly poker-faced performance by Japanese singer/actress Atsuko Maeda, Nobuhiro Yamashita’s sweetly comic film reflects the dead-end choices presented to a generation with good educations but uncertain prospects.
• Written by Kôsuke Mukai. Photographed by Akiko Ashizawa, Yoshihiro Ikeuchi. With Atsuko Maeda, Suon Kan, Yasuko Tomita. (78 mins)