Anyway, Singapore Airlines has video-on-demand with large numbers of films. As some of you know, I hate flying and my preferred strategy involves sitting with my eyes shut for as large a proportion of the flight as I can manage, however when the flights are 14 hours and 8 hours in one day, the exciting possibilities of sitting still with ones eyes shut begin to wear out, so I watched a couple of Japanese films with English subtitles.
The first one was Sekai no Chushin de, Ai wo Sakebu, rendered into English as a number of different things, mainly 'Spirited away to a romance from the past' and 'Crying out love, in the centre of the world' (and variations). Many of you will have heard my second hand witticism of lots of French films ending up with a voice-over saying something on the lines of the title of this entry (I will be hiding from dotty now, obviously). Well, this film has all this and more so - cute Japanese teenagers in a peaceful seaside town, doomed love, flashbacks, funerals and arty scenes where characters from the flashback interact with characters from the present day story. It is based on a novel by Kyoichi Katayama which unaccountably doesn't seem to have been translated into English despite it allegedly being the best selling novel of all time by a Japanese writer. The voice-overs are achieved by having the teenagers recording messages to each other on cassettes and playing them back on their Walkmans (there is an amusing scene in the present day where a character tries to buy a Walkman to play the old cassettes and has difficulty getting one that plays cassettes as opposed to MDs / CDs / solid state.).
It is let down by the present day story making little sense - the main reason I would like to read the book and/or to see it again when not in the lowered state of consciousness entered into on long plane journeys is to see if it does in fact make more sense than appeared to me at the time.
The second film, Heaven's Bookstore was so bizarre I was beginning to believe I had dreamed it. I cannot do better than this synopsis:
"Kenta, a young pianist, loses his job and wakes up the next morning to find himself in a bookstore in heaven. He is told that he is not actually dead, but has been given a temporary job there in order to learn lessons about life from his customers and colleagues, including the beautiful Shoko. Kenta discovers that Shoko was a talented pianist who came to heaven without finishing the piano suite she was composing to accompany a fireworks display created by her fiancée, Takimoto. Kenta resolves to complete the suite.
Meanwhile, on earth, Shoko’s niece is attempting to restage Takimoto’s fireworks show, which ceased the year of Shoko’s death twelve years ago. As heaven and earth intersect, a miracle is about to begin."