I've been away from SP for a couple of months, traveling around the world doing research for my book about how people perceive life in America through the lens of our popular culture and, to a much lesser extent, US cultural diplomacy. I interviewed 133 individuals in six countries and am now drafting the manuscript. But loath to let SP expire, I beg you to kill whatever fatted calf you have on hand and welcome me back.
I woke up this morning still thinking about an extraordinary film I saw last night on DVD. Its unprepossessing title, Japanese Story, does not begin to capture its power.
Set in the Pilbara Desert of Western Australia, the story is simple: Sandy, a female geologist (Toni Colette), is asked by her boss to be driver and guide to the son of a major Japanese investor. The young visitor, Hiromitsu (Gotaro Tsunashima) is as smooth and proud as Sandy is rough and humble, and were it not for a series of unexpected mishaps, they would never have connected. But connect they do, in ways as starkly beautiful as the rugged, red-earth landscape they travel through. The film also contains something exceedingly rare: a punch that knocks the wind out of you, and isn't at all telescoped.