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Review: See You on the Other Side and Tokyo Girl (Japan Cuts Shorts)

Decided to cap off Japan Cuts 2020 with yet another short film double feature:

  1. See You on the Other Side: Director Yoko Yamanaka previously helmed Amiko (which screened at Japan Society back in 2018), and this follow-up clearly demonstrates both her tremendous growth as a craftsman and the versatility of her authorial voice. Whereas her earlier effort was chaotic, energetic, and charmingly rough around the edges, See You on the Other Side is stylistically precise, deliberately paced, and almost hypnotically listless. It also abandons its predecessor’s quirky sense of humor, instead offering a genuinely insightful meditation on the difference between lust and love. While the story ends a bit too abruptly to properly resolve the central conflict, the protagonist’s struggle to reconcile her romantic attraction towards her partners (yes, plural) with her lack of sexual desire remains consistently compelling throughout the 24-minute running time.

  2. Tokyo Girl: This experimental cinematic collage revolves around the theme of change—from the milestone of a young woman’s twenty-first birthday to Japan’s transition into the then-upcoming Reiwa era. The disorienting rapidity of the editing and narration made it difficult for me to absorb all of the movie’s subtleties (trying to keep up with the subtitles occasionally felt like a futile endeavor), but I still greatly enjoyed its distinctive rhythm and atmosphere.

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