I wish to live inside an Obayashi film. Or at least in a world where Obayashi's format of storytelling is the common norm. Seven Weeks explores a family's mourning cycle after the passing of a central figure, which despite the heavy subject of war and death is amongst the most uplifting films I've seen all year. Another interesting aspect is how it works with chapters, each dealing with a different stage of grief. The film clocks at nearly 3 hours and takes the time to elongate every single moment. And not how art films typically do it, which is often to have a character sit in a field while the clouds pass by. And I love Tarkovsky but that's how too many art films capture time passing. While more conventional films take no time to breathe and put in as many events at once. Obayashi combines these two by including every single interaction between characters and their personal experience within that small time frame. So much happens and yet time slows down. I also love the constant movement within frames, Obayashi tries to suck in the audience with unusual techniques. He focuses heavily on the visual aspect yet never loses track of the heart of its characters, and every character has a very distinct beat about them that draws me in. The only minor complaint is that the overly artificial/green screen look isn't always the greatest. But i'd be fascinated to know his reasoning behind including them because they happen at the most random moments. Like a group of people talking in a room. It's a bold choice that doesn't always work, but it's fascinating to see a different technique than what you'd typically see. Really hope that more filmmakers are exposed to Obayashi's films and find ways of changing the dull status quo of how cinema is structured today. Perhaps my favorite aspect of Obayashi's structure is how a character can be having a monologue while changing both in location and time. His style has a mind of its own and does not exist within a typical linear time frame. Seven Weeks is my last of his final four films, and it's obvious how he had fully matured and blossomed as a director. These films did not have massive budgets and I understand why the general audience hasn't responded greatly or even know of their existence. But hopefully with time, more people will discover Obayashi's filmography and find it as magical and rewarding as I've found it to be. Can't wait to eventually revisit Obayashi's war trilogy, which i'd happily place among the best trilogies i've ever seen.
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A former hospital director runs an antiques shop in Ashibetsu with her family.
December 30, 2021