Cinema Tremble All You Want (12) 117 minutes

Screened as part of The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2019

Yoshika (Mayu Matsuoka) is a brainy junior accountant who, at the ripe old age of 24, has never been kissed. Putting in long hours at work, the only thing this eccentric wallflower finds time and enthusiasm for is looking up obscure trivia on Wikipedia and fantasising about having real-life interactions with people she encounters. Her most cherished obsession pertains to a high school crush, Ichi (her No.1 choice), whom she still carries a torch for – ten years later. Her silent pining is suddenly broken one day when her emotionally incontinent colleague, Ni (or second choice), confesses his love for her. Deciding its better than nothing, Yoshika begins an awkward courtship with him in spite of herself, anguishing over her feelings for Ichi versus Ni, ideals versus reality..

Genre veteran, Akiko Ohku, perceptively and deceptively adapts Risa Wataya’s novel, playing with our expectations of rom-com conventions while boldly exploring darker themes of loneliness felt by young women in contemporary Japanese society.

The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2019 features thoughtfully selected works, all focusing on this theme in one way or another. As the conventional binaries defining what it means to love continually give way to new understandings of this sweeping emotion, so too does this year’s curation aim to provide insights into a wider context of love in Japanese society.

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