I watched this film as a fan of Wataya Risa's writing and especially her novel Install. She wrote it while still a teenager herself, and later won the prestigious Akutagawa award for her novel Keritai Senaka (The Back I Want To Kick). When Asako is lying on her back on the boy's bed, the book you can see beside her with the blue cover is Keritai Senaka. The film did well in capturing some of the strengths of the novel: the surreal, dreamy quality; the absurd storyline; and the humorous character interaction. In many scenes we get the pervading sense of children being surrounded by reminders of adult sexuality, which seem to them to come from a strange and unknown world. Asako, a 17- year-old virgin, is uncomfortable with society's expectation that she will be sexually active, as evidenced by her discomfort with the lacy panties and bras featured colorfully in both the film and the novel. The adults in the novel, both parents and teachers, seem to wield their sexuality as weapons of influence and intimidation. Notably, there is the female teacher who is having an affair with a male student, and the boy's stepmother, who makes him uncomfortable with her questions and flaunting of her womanly body. The precocious elementary-school boy, impersonating a married housewife/prostitute, is very funny, and his acting is flawless. The weakness of this film is the slow pacing. There were numerous overly long interludes with repetitive music playing and nothing much happening. During these moments I was often tempted to pause it and go do something else. It should have been more tightly edited, even if it would have resulted in a shorter film. Since the novel itself was so short, rather than the usual impression of a long book being ruthlessly cut for film, you have the feeling that a short story was stretched out to fill a feature-length movie, without much original content added. The reason I personally like both the novel and the film is that I do think it's possible to reset your life ("Install" yourself) by unconventional means, having new experiences that allow you to start over, feeling okay about life again. I think this story has a message of hope, delivered in a humorous way, for people overwhelmed by apathy towards the chore of everyday life.
You know it is the modern times when the boy running wild in a cyber sex chat room is ten years old, the woman he brings along is seventeen-years old, the original woman running it is ...
December 12, 2020