Friday, January 28, 2022

Review of “I was a simple man”: soul poetry at the end of life

The Times aims to analyze theatrical film releases during COVID-19 pandemic… Since going to the movies is risky at this time, we remind readers to follow safety and health guidelines. developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials

“Death is not easy, is it?”

It’s a haunting refrain that resounds in Hawaiian filmmaker Christopher Makoto Yogi’s I Was a Common Man, a moving, melancholic portrait of a sick elderly patriarch struggling with his impending mortality.

Set on the north shore of Oahu, the island’s pastoral landscape is eclipsed by the towering modern architecture of Honolulu in the distance. The story follows the spiritual journey of Masao (the impressive Steve Iwamoto), a widower with an unknown incurable disease. After the death of his artist wife (Constance Wu), he led a largely secluded life several decades ago.

As his condition deteriorates, Masao increasingly finds himself in the company of her ghost, as well as in a flood of memories from his past, while his alienated adult children must come to terms with the need to care for someone who has never been around. with them.

Building on this foundation of family drama, Yogi, who made his debut in the acclaimed 2019 film August at Akiko’s, skillfully weaves elements of mysticism and mythology, culture and history, as well as stylistic tributes to influential filmmakers at the forefront of the Japanese. and the Taiwanese new wave.

There’s also a tangible touch of Terrence Malik in the production’s lush naturalistic visuals (filmed by Korean filmmaker Eunsu Robin Cho) and soundscape with these restless elements basking in that golden island light, gently nudging Masao towards the end of his earthly life cycle.

Taking a cue from its silent protagonist, I Was a Common Man prefers his soulful poetic imagery to make up the bulk of the conversation.

‘I was a simple man’

Not rated

Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes

Plays: Kicks off December 3, Laemmle Royal, West Los Angeles

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