Drama, Films, Japan, Recommended posts, Reviews

Ice Cream and the Sound of Raindrops

“We are the cosmos made conscious!”…

Japanese director Daigo Matsui is an acclaimed filmmaker who has always specialized in the youth of Japan. Whether it is about the lure and folly of social media like in the music-video motif film Wonderful World End, the enthusiasm and passion of youth in the road comedy Our Huff and Puff Journey and as something as innocuous as puberty in the seemingly comical Sweet Poolside, Matsui knows his way around.

After his anarchic and ambitious comedy/drama Japanese Girls Never Die, we now have his latest film, Ice Cream and the Sound of Raindrops, an ambitious piece that gained certain buzz due to being filmed entirely in a single take. Does the film succeed above its gimmick and become more of a substantial entry in Matsui’s filmography?

Based on a true story, six boys and girls (the entire cast play themselves) are chosen through auditions to act in a play of “Morning” by Simon Stephens. Through the course of a month, the cast and crew try really hard to prepare for the scheduled play. Unfortunately, one of the producers informs them that the play is cancelled due to lack of interest, which shocks the group, making them blame each other for the failure. But one of them declares to the group to continue on rehearsing, regardless of the cancellation.

Ice Cream and the Sound of Raindrops is an interesting experiment, as it showcases Matsui’s stellar direction whilst playing around with the artifices of filmmaking in a mischievous way. One amusing example is the fact that the film has a musical score and yet the music is played live by MOROHA, throughout. Not only is it quite funny, due to some very funny and yet truthful lyrics, but it does convincingly delve deep into the character’s emotions convincingly.

Since the film involves rehearsals as well as real-life events, Matsui plays with the aspect ratio, changing from 1.85:1 to 2.35:1 from time to time to differentiate the difference, although, in the later stages of the film, it does become quite disorienting, which was Matsui’s intent.

While it does showcase the many conflicting emotions that today’s youth go through (the play itself involves a murder due to jealousy and resentment), it also provides an ample showcase for the thespian skills of the cast, who all give great performances.

Kokoro Morita, in particular, fills the many facets of her character, whether it’s giving an intentionally bad performance to showing heartfelt emotions but most important of all, switching those emotions on and off convincingly and seamlessly, Morita does a great job.

Speaking of being seamless, major props must go to director Daigo Matsui and cinematographer Hiroki Shioya. The sheer meticulousness both the camera choreography and the blocking create a thrilling experience that makes it easy for the audience to immerse themselves into the story. When the film ends, you can just see and feel the exhaustion from everyone involved and when the credits come up, don’t feel surprised if you end up having the urge to cheer.

As for its flaws, the shifts between reality and rehearsal can be quite jarring. Since it clocks in at 74 minutes, it is safe to assume that the film can be seen as slight (like this review). But as an experience in both filmmaking as well as whom the characters represent, Ice Cream and the Sound of Raindrops is a film worth running out for.

“We are the cosmos made conscious!”

Ice Cream and the Sound of Raindrops screens as part of the 18th Nippon Connection Film Festival, running from 29 May to 3 June 2018.

About the author

Harris DangHarris Dang Harris Dang
Film lover. Lover of film. Makes love to film. Also a lover. Lover of film. Film lover. Also a contributor to VCinema and has his own obscure, miniscule blog called "Film-momatic Reviews". More »
Read all posts by Harris Dang

On this day One year ago

Kamikaze Guy

Sonny Chiba and Kenji Fukasaku’s historic 1st film together provides mostly….lighthearted wholesome fun?!? (more…) Read on

On this day Five years ago

30th Tokyo International Film Festival Full Programme Has...

The film festival will be held from October 25 to November 3… (more…) Read on

On this day 12 years ago

House

Dazzlingly dotty and out-of-this-world – welcome to Obayashi’s (often hilarious) fantasy horror, soundtracked by Godiego (best known for Monkey!)... (more…) Read on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.