Comedy, Drama, Films, Japan, Reviews

The Foreign Duck, The Native Duck and God in a Coin Locker

A foreign student a native story and Bob Dylan’s godly voice are just the first three elements and intriguing reasons why Yoshihiro Nakamura’s movie will glue you to the screen…

It must be cold upnorth in Sendai, the early morning adds a foggy feeling to the whole town, a place where you must eat your barbecued tongue, a restaurant specialty. Shiina (Gaku Hamada, Fish Story, Golden Slumber, See You Tomorrow, Everyone) is arrived just a few hours ago, enough time to be bothered by his parents about tongues to eat and neighbours to greet, even if he still hadn’t got the time to unpack his stuff before starting to attend his Law courses at the university.

Soon we understand that Sendai is not foggy, but the lives of those met by Shiina are. In his new residence he meets Kawasaki (Eita, Memories of Matsuko, Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai), a strange guy who would like to steal a really expensive dictionary, the Kanji Garden, for his neighbour’s (Shiina) neighbour, a buthanese guy who still cannot read and speak Japanese properly. In that precise moment Shiina should have left his neighbour apartment and start concentrating on his studies, but the voice of God had seized him.

Yoshihiro Nakamura’s The Foreign Duck, The Native Duck and God in a Coin Locker will soon be released by Third Window Films, a six years old movie which is going to be one of your personal favorite ‘dramadies’. A simple story, narrated first from Shiina’s point of view, than from Kawasaki’s one, is a comedy about trusting people and a drama about the difficulty of trusting someone’s vision.

Nakamura directs his sixth movie focusing on what could a guy think of what another one is telling him, what a few words said by a friend, or in this case, a neighbour, could be seen in his mind: that’s why we’re transported in a second world made out of Shiina’s imagination, incomplete and without colors which is resembling the whole story about the buthanese man and Kawasaki’s ex-girlfriend Kotomi. A smart idea for a movie that lasts almost two hours, an escamotage taken out of the director’s hat to help the audience to participate.

In fact it’s a movie with a handful of characters: there’s Shiina, his neighbour Kawasaki, the Buthanese, the pet-owner shop Reiko (Nene Otsuka, Swallowtail Butterfly, I Wish), the nice young lady Kotomi (Megumi Seki, Sword of Desperation) and then there’s us, another person involved in these mysterious Sendai’s affairs without even knowing or really understanding that we’re taking part in it. Clever in its own writing part, The Foreign Duck resembles one of those old novels published chapter by chapter on the newspapers, like an Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes’ book, in which the resolution of the case need as much pages or minutes, as the investigation does.

It is slow paced as our movements could be when we’re surprised by the appearance of something familiar on our road, one of those came out from God’s writings, not the Bible, but Bob Dylan’s lyrics, the real connection between everyone seen in The Foreign Duck. The audience is there, together with everyone and without realizing it, everyone of us will find themselves whispering Blowin’ in the Wind together with Shiina right from the start of the movie.

Engaging and compelling, Nakamura’s efforts are clear in every single shot of his tale of foreign and native ducks, not a scene looks boring or emptied of any kind of meaning, everything has the aim to make us feel the cold and warmth of each lost soul. By watching The Foreign Duck it becomes clear how Nakamura’s become a really good storyteller, director of such good movies as A Fish Story and Golden Slumber: with just three elements he wrote a huge movie to which you won’t be able to resist to falling in love with.

The Foreign Duck, The Native Duck and God in a Coin Locker is released on UK DVD on Monday 14 January by Third Window Films.

Home media details

Distributor:Third Window Films (UK)

Edition: DVD (2013)

Another solid release from Third Window, includes a 'proper' selection of extras with a 35 minute 'Making Of', Deleted Scenes, Theatrical Trailer

About the author

Fausto Vernazzani
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4 thoughts on “The Foreign Duck, The Native Duck and God in a Coin Locker

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