[critical] TOKYO FIANCÉE

TOKYO BRIDE is the story ofAmélie, a young belgian of 20 years is dreaming in japanese, and part of immersing yourself in this city, this country, this culture.

Let us specify from the outset. TOKYO FIANCÉE has nothing to do with Lost in Translation, where Sofia Coppola was all his camera (and its sensitivity) on a couple of western offsuit, even dépareillant with a universe that is incomprehensible observed with distance.

Also, if they are written by the same author Amélie Nothomb, the two adaptations ciné TOKYO FIANCÉE , and Stupor, and Tremors are extremely complementary. They have a mise-en-scene, a main actress, a goal, a description and a scope are radically different.

What is fascinating with these two films, and secondarily with their author Amélie Nothomb, it is their ability to present two very separate aspects of Japan, with the same passion, curious, and with the same mind, the same consciousness, the same absence of judgment to a cultural barrier which is impassable.

On the one hand, the codes of societal, on the other, an urban, everyday life. To each film its Amélie-san. This is important, because it is our gateway into japanese culture, and the personality of each greatly affects the perception of the film.

Stupeur et tremblements (2003), Sylvie Testud

Fear and Trembling, it is Sylvie Testud.

West mainly by its physical (redhead with blue eyes), and then, by his reflexes social. Simple: each of its actions is in contradiction with the japanese code, leading to massive impacts, watermark, paint a portrait of japanese society, places the man and woman in this world governed by codes of honour and success really very special.

Personality cold and cleared the actress is and body with this anthropological vision of Japan, immersing themselves through humiliation and submission, but unable to change his environment.

This notion of immersion is also at the heart of the mise-en-scene, which will not allow any other view of japan, as this open space inhabited by tensions and frustrations. And even if an aspect of “film studio” feel, this makes body with the idea of containment extreme inherent to the conventions of the japanese.

Also noteworthy is the music, harpsichord, orchestrated by Valérie Lindon as odd that Sylvie Testud.

The whole is completed by a cynicism hardcore issued by an Amélie-narrator-Nothomb, considering mainly the naive and the pride of his own youth.

Paradoxically, it is an Amélie-San, younger but more assertive, which is the heroine of TOKYO FIANCÉE.

Pauline Étienne immediately creates empathy for his hyper-expressivity. Its awesome game borrows as much from Amélie Poulain, your the girl-next-door, or has this student in anthropo-socio… a girl nice, pleasant, and full of ideals that we all have already met (Flamby !), and that we loved without necessarily being able to know more in depth.

Its natural and its beauty is a stark contrast with the rigour of japan. Curiosity tolerated if not completely accepted by those she meets. Except For Rinri.

Thanks to Pauline Stephen – and to a lesser extent, as influenced by my cultural perception, to the understated but excellent Taichi Inoue, the failover of TOKYO BRIDE to the hazardous terrain of romance inter-cultural is successful.

It was introduced with patience and delicacy, is credible (at least to a westerner like me) because they are based on a non-equilibrium, governed by the cultural differences associated with the characters, more than the power of any feeling of love.

Rinri for example, is wisely the character with the most curious and emotionally tolerant ! The couple that he forms with this Amélie-san, independent woman, and strong (but also self-centered, naïve, and indecisive) is one of the most poorly matched to the cinema… And so one of the most charming!

Each of their moments together and the theatre of a unique cultural discovery:

Always in coherence with the minimalism of expressive, inherent to the japanese Rinri discover his universe to Amélie. And it is always touching. Sometimes exhilarating and poetic, sometimes unfathomable, often unpublished. Awesome.

All the more, that a certain non-linearity will bring a lot of digressions and situations surprising. The finale of the film is more than successful.

“this delicate and allegorical romance provides a change of scenery 100% original and refreshing”

But where TOKYO FIANCÉE mark an additional point in relation to fear and Trembling, it is for a reason quite personal: a transfer of my personality cinephile/critical to the character of Amélie-san.

This allegoric story of the cultural incompatibility of me and my own perception of japanese cinema, and by extension the medium of cinema in general. Like what, my relative youth and inexperience of the world does not keep me from him give special love… A curiosity is boundless, and the willingness to unravel the mysteries.

The central and decisive or Amélie decides to go get lost in the heart of a magnificent mountain – left to die – is, for me, these very recent moments movie goers, or I have found and lost myself in these masterpieces that are The Trip of Chihiro, Barbarossa, The Blue Angel, Opening Night, Sorcerer , or Assault… Those moments where I found my personality to critical, and my themes fetishes, including the symbolism within a work, the importance of context on the design of a film, the match between each of the technical elements in the service of a single (emotional), the scope of a work in the collective unconscious (and vice versa), the notion of empathy with the viewer…

Also the time I became more aware of my limits; In the same way that Amelie was confronted with ancestral traditions that she fantasizes to embody, I know that I do not rattraperai never a century of culture ciné. I am so resolved, to discover this universe by the present, by a legacy re-assembled with its own codes. And like Amy, I am fascinated by the beauty, the uniqueness and complexity of this heritage.

In short, in TOKYO FIANCÉE Amélie Nothomb seems to be fading as the author to allow, via the solar Pauline Étienne, the extension of the gaze ethnologico-film began with fear and Trembling on the fascinating japanese culture.

By the choice of realization for the immersion into an urban, everyday life, and through empathy immediate towards its heroine, this delicate and allegorical romance provides a change of scenery 100% original and refreshing.

Then, a watermark, a speech fair and universal humility in the face of the culture, through the identification with the character of Amélie.

The other outputs of the 4 march 2015





– REVIEW : fear and Trembling

Original title : Tokyo Fiancée

Realization : Stefan Liberski

Screenplay : Stefan Liberski, based on the work of Amélie Nothomb

Main actors : Pauline Etienne, Taichi Inoue, Julie Le Breton

Country of origin : France, Belgium, Canada

Released : march 4, 2015

Duration : 1h40min

Distributor : Eurozoom

Synopsis : The head full of dreams, Amélie, 20 years, returns to the Japan of his childhood. She offers private classes in French and meets Rinri, her first and only student, a young Japanese man who soon becomes her lover. Through the surprises, joys and disappointments of this culture shock, funny and poetic, we discover a Amélie full of spontaneity and tenderness, which combines the grace of ikebana to the playfulness of a manga character.






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