by Stephen Russell-Gebbett
(Japan 1997, 61min – aka It’s Keiko; Keiko Desu Kedo) not available on DVD
Director, Writer Sion Sono Starring Keiko Suzuki
Keiko Suzuki is a 21 year-old girl. Her father passed away a year ago and the film (part diary, part document, all fiction) depicts her life and her grief, which lasts.
We see a clock and she counts the seconds. 1, 2, 3, she walks down the street for minutes on end counting each step as she goes (as you can imagine this can dip into boredom a couple of times, but not only briefly). The passing of time fascinates her; her loss has made her aware of what comes and goes. Each second a struggle without him, each second forward to, perhaps, peace. She is comforted and daunted by the fact that life goes on regardless; what moves seems to be standing still, what stands still seems to slip away. Time is even more of a fetish here than in Wong Kar Wai’s stories.
We will see her smile a little, and watch her continue to return, almost imperceptibly, back to herself.
At the very beginning, she tells us that the film will last precisely 1 hour, 1 minute and 1 second, after which we can leave (“This film will be over at exactly 8:23”). She doesn’t want to intrude but she appears to need us as an audience (she lives alone) and, frankly, when that 1 hour, 1 minute and 1 second is over, it has been a privilege. How often do we feel as an audience that we are of use? Therefore I expected the film to end exactly as it did, with one simple word in Japanese, two in English.