With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Thursday, July 14, 2011

ACF 1098: Three ☆ Points at Japan Society tomorrow night followed by After Party!

Miho Fujima (left) and Sora Aoi
Three☆Points © Three☆Points Syndicate 2011

Three Points / Suri Pointo
Directed by Masashi Yamamoto
Starring Sora Aoi and Jun Murakami
Japan, 2011, 117 minutes
When: Friday, July 15, 2011 at 8:30 PM
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues, NYC
International Premiere / Centerpiece Presentation
Introduction and Q&A with Yamamoto and actress Sora Aoi
"1, 2...3 Points After Party following screening.

Three ☆ Points is somewhat of a hybrid movie.The title refers to three locals reflecting different aspects of Japanese Society: Kyoto, Okinawa and Tokyo. In Kyoto the focus is on several Japanese rappers. Apollo has been released after serving five years, and berates his long-suffering girlfriend Jun. Shoot recently got out of jail and is met by his friend and former rap partner Jey. Snorting coke in Jey's car results in a blackmail situation, but was it all really just a set-up? Finally there's Mention, who will be "leaving" for three years and whose cranky mouthed girlfriend Risa announces she will not be there waiting for him when he gets out.

The segments set in Okinawa, which are interspersed between those in Kyoto, are more like a documentary travelogue. The director and film crew visit and interview various personages. Tetchan recently moved to Onna ("Woman") Village from Kadena. In an out-door segment marked with somewhat jerky hand-held camera movement, he demonstrates his ability to dig for crabs. Higa-san shows a "Uganjo," a place that is visited to perform a ceremony to wish for a good crop. There are also interviews with an old timer who recalls the heyday of U.S. presence on the island during the Vietnam war and with several U.S. military personnel currently stationed there. While native sentiment against the U.S. military is evident, these interviews generally approach the young Americans as human beings, not monsters.

The finale segment, which is uninterrupted and basically constitutes the last half of the film. Saki Kuwashima (actress Sora Aoi, whose first name is sometimes spelled "Sola") is a lovely, young female office worker and quite a free spirit. We first meet her when she is out with an older, married man, and the two are accosted by a group of punks. A good-looking street-drifter named Iga (Jun Murakami) comes to their rescue. After her "date" leaves, Saki returns to find the man bleeding from a knife wound. He refuses her offer to call for an ambulance, but agrees to go to her apartment and allow her to clean his wound. Once settled in there, he decides to stay, even passing himself off as her "uncle" to one of her dates, a young man who works at a grocery/convenience store she frequents.

A strange and uneasy relationship develops between Saki, who claims that her promiscuity may stem from her mother's many husbands and lovers, and Iga, who reveals that he was married, but that his wife and daughter died in an accident. Saki begins to role play as Iga's wife, and a sensual and psychological drama begins to unfold that brings into question the things they have told one another.

For me, the Tokyo Chapter was easily the finest of the three "points" of the film. It was well developed and intriguing, and both Murakami and Aoi were very good in their roles. Aoi is a former A.V. (adult video) actress who has been moving into more legitimate film fare. Billed as "Sola" Aoi, she previously starred in Yamamoto's man woman and the Wall (2006), in which she played the new neighbor of a young man who, not surprisingly, listens through their adjoining wall to what goes on in her apartment. That film, a surprisingly smart consideration of audio "voyeurism" is available from Ricochet Releasing in fine DVD that includes a quite good Making-Of Featurette. Aoi (again billed as "Sola"0 also starred in Big Tits Zombie (a.k.a. The Big Tits Dragon, 2010), a delightful cult film with a terrible and misleading English title. While she is amply endowed up top, Aoi plays an exotic dancer and zombie killer, not a zombie.

While in her portion of Three ☆ Points, as well as in the two other films I've mentioned, Aoi does spend some time displaying her physical charms, it's clear that she is well-suited for the transition she's begun. She's charming and unaffected, a real natural. While she certainly isn't ready for heavy drama -- at least not yet -- she is much more than capable of handling the age-appropriate roles she has begun undertaking. Nowhere is this more evident than in Three Points, a fragmented film worth seeing on the whole, but particularly for the Tokyo-based segment.

Tickets for Three ☆ Points here.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for this review of the film, it sounds intriguing. I enjoyed Man, Woman and the Wall last year when I caught up with it. I sure was sorry to miss this event last night as I am a great admirer of Miss Sora, but I found out about it too late.

    I look forward to reading more of your reviews.

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  2. I was fortunate to be able interview Ms. Aoi and director Yamamoto just before they went downstairs to introduce the film. I expect the audio interview will be available as a podcast at VCinema or it'll transcribed here. Not sure which, or possibly both, it'll be.

    I have never seen such a huge crowd at Japan Society, and I've been covering film series there for over nine years. Ticket holders were being admitted to the theater via the door on the lower level at the front of the theater, whereas one usually enters at the back. The line snaked around the lower level, went up the steps, wound around the lobby and out the front door! Incredible turnout.

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  3. Wow, that's fantastic about the crowd, Dr. Glick! Maybe they'll bring her back. She is amazing. How I would have loved to have written a screenplay for her back when she was doing erotica! (I wrote many films from the 1980s through the early 2000s.) How great that you got to interview her. I look forward to hearing or reading your interview and will keep an eye out for info about it on your site here. Thanks.

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