A2P Cinema 100 Films of the Aughts
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SHARA
2003 - Naomi Kawase - Japan
24

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Naomi Kawase's astonishing 2003 film Shara is a truly great cinematic experience. Indeed to see this film is experience it - both in the way that it is detached yet intimate all at once. The film features a prominent use of handheld camera work and long handheld tracking shots as early as the visually atmospheric opening scene. These long lingering shots and camera movements heighten the atmosphere and feeling of the film to give it a rare energy that the narrative can not provide. Kawase has a very unique and personal approach to filmmaking often blending autobiography, documentary and fiction as one. Shara is set in Kawase's hometown of Nara (Japan's capital city in the 8th and 9th centuries) tells the story of family loss when a twin brother suddenly disappears one summer day. This film is one of grieving. The healing arrives in a devastating nearly 10-minute dance sequence that seems both improvised yet carefully composed. Either way it is full of energy and carries with it a touching emotion despite its simplicity. Kawase has created a marvelously unforgettable moment of cinematic rhythm and emotion. Shara, like many of Kawase's films, rings emotional and stylistic truth. While I would say there is an experimentalist approach, this is not a film made out of a plot or a genre, but rather one of people and emotions.
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