JFF Encore Review - Always Sunset on Third Street
Released years ago on DVD by Madman, Always Sunset on Third Street is all but impossible to find locally. Thankfully, you'll be able to see it on the big screen in all of its honey-soaked glory.
The real strength of this film is the characterisation of not only the main protagonists, but also secondary characters and Tokyo itself. The reason that these characters work so well is because they're all inherently flawed, as we all are. Their foibles to only highlight their humanity but also allow them to play off against one another. The jock against the geek, the meek against the jock and so on. While the nostalgic element is certainly a positive factor, some of that nostalgia may be lost on folks such as myself who have no familial links to Japan. That said, the heartwarming allure of a simpler time is wonderfully realised.
Visually, this film is stunning. The use of CGI, while heavy handed in terms of the sheer volume that's used, manages to create a vision of Tokyo that differs so much from what we've grown used to. At times the CGI looks a little plasticky but for the most part blends beautifully into the background. CGI recreations of ye olde Tokyo are coupled with physical sets of alleyways and businesses all set in the shadow of Tokyo Tower, a pinnacle in the rebuilding of post-war Japan. The colour palette varies between muted grey tones which seem to denote the pending industrialisation of Japan while amber, honey notes highlight the warmth of those halcyon days.
This is, without a doubt, one of the choice cuts of this years Japanese Film Festival: Encore. Filled with interesting and loveable characters, nostalgia and fantastic effects, it's easy to see why Always not only collected a whole bunch of film awards but also why it spawned a handful of sequels.
Always Sunset on Third Street is screening on Sunday the 13th of July and tickets are available now!