FunAstrology"To the Ends of the Earth" in the cinema:...

"To the Ends of the Earth" in the cinema: Freedom for the goat

Created: 07/20/2022 Updated: 7/20/2022, 4:37 p.m

Eine japanische Reporterin in Usbekistan.
A Japanese reporter in Uzbekistan. ©

Japanese actor Kiyoshi Kurosawa shot a charming version of Lost in Translation – the romantic media satire To the Ends of the Earth – in Uzbekistan.

There is actually a sure way out of every cinema crisis and out of every summer slump: just see what’s new from Japan. Hardly any other film nation has maintained such a high standard of quality since the post-war period and has never forgotten good entertainment through art. Kiyoshi Kurosawa has made a film almost every year for the last quarter of a century, of which his elegiac, gimmicky thrillers and horror films in particular have found recognition in the West. Maybe that’s why this story about cultural contrasts, which was filmed in 2019, stayed put for the time being. But now it comes at just the right time.

Behind the mighty title “To the Ends Of The Earth” hides a small big film of surprising romance. But the few sounds he strikes reverberate well beyond the two-hour runtime. It’s a travel film about a TV crew shooting a travel report. So we see little of Japan but a lot of Uzbekistan. But seeing does not mean understanding.

Like Sofia Coppola in her Japanese comedy “Lost in Translation”, Kurosawa also portrays travelers in their inability to engage with the foreign. But in his gentle way he paints a bigger picture than Coppola. The plague, which he dissects almost imperceptibly, is pseudo-documentary reportage television on the threshold of docusoap. The kind of journalism that goes out into the world to confirm clichés and collect a few curiosities.

Atusko Maeda, a well-known pop star in Japan, plays the reporter Yoko. She patiently follows the principle of her hardened director (Shota Sometani), who doesn’t seek on his travels, but only finds – what’s in the script. This is difficult because the ominous giant fish that he was told about cannot be found in an artificial lake. And the national dish for Japanese tastes unfortunately consists of far too little cooked rice – and is therefore inedible for the reporter. She patiently feigns delicacies. She only throws up when she has to try out the swing attraction of a cute amusement park on her own for the umpteenth time.

She doubts her work

Kurosawa shows the work of Yoko and her small, all-male team with documentary-style detail. It’s hard to tell if some of the misadventures didn’t actually happen to them. In view of the pathetic material, but above all because she doubts the point of her work, Yoko sets out to find something worth seeing herself. The director reluctantly agrees to buy a goat tied in front of a house and releases it in front of the camera. But her actual discovery seems too demanding for the audience: she feels strangely at home in Tashkent’s magnificent national opera, which she simply walks into. In fact, the imposing, pictorial stucco work was executed by Japanese prisoners of war.

Between homesickness (she misses her boyfriend, a Tokyo firefighter) and a search for meaning (in a surreal interlude in the opera house, she dreams of her career aspirations as a singer), she lets herself drift: Without knowing the language or laws, she roams Tashkent with the video camera and finally ends up in police custody.

One would like to know whether Kurosawa really copied the topic “Lost in Translation” from Coppola, a film that is probably not only admired in Japan. The unfortunate love story, told in hints and over the phone, suggests so. What is known is that his film was started as a commission to celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and Uzbekistan.

The freedom with which he creates his open travel narrative is all the more astonishing. How, on the one hand, it delivers all the color that one might expect from an anniversary film, but at the same time breaks tourist expectations. Only at the end does he allow himself to wallow in the vast mountain landscapes – and not without irony. With a view of the liberated goat, Yoko also finds her place of longing here in the style of “The Sound of Music” – and belts out a Japanese version of Edith Piaf’s “Chanson d’amour” with irresistible passion.

To the Ends Of the Earth. Japan 2019. Regie: Kiyoshi Kurosawa. 121 Min.

Schedules of the Valencia GP of MotoGP in Cheste and how to see it

The Cheste circuit hosts this weekend, from November 4 to 6, the 2022 MotoGP Comunitat Valenciana GP. See the schedules and all the information.

"Don't talk to me!": Danni Büchner makes a clear announcement to hated party guests

Danni Büchner is invited to Sam Dylan's Halloween party. But the "Goodbye Germany" emigrant has no desire for many other party guests. And find clear words.

King Charles III Portrait now on the first coin: Serious change to the Queen

Charles III first coins with his portrait are there. Coin lovers immediately discover two striking differences.

Unknown colourfulness

Bird Species Discovered on Islands in Indonesia

Braking was tricky

Apart from that, everything worked like a picture book for the railway world record in Switzerland