Still the Water

Peter Bradshaw:

Kyoko (Jun Yoshinaga) is a confident, intelligent 16-year-old girl who is falling in love with the diffident, moody boy next door: Kaito (Nijiro Murakami). Kaito’s parents are divorced: his dad, a tattooist, lives in Tokyo and his mum works in a restaurant. Kyoko is dealing with something even more painful: her mother, a delicate and beautiful woman, is dying, perhaps of cancer, although the film is a little too otherworldly to acknowledge the exact illness, the exact medical care or the ugly, un-Zen physical toll it can take.

Set against this fraught situation is a shocking event: a dead body is washed up on the beach. Despite the film’s title, the water is far from still – there are tropical storms and the waves and currents are dangerous. The dead man turns out to have a connection with Kaito’s mother, and realising this forces him to re-evaluate his relationship with his parents and with Kyoko herself who cannot understand why he is so shy and reluctant to make love to her.

A beautiful movie about love, life and death.