Magazine article Screen International

'Foreboding': Berlin Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Foreboding': Berlin Review

Article excerpt

Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s five-hour apocalyptic TV series is condensed into an off-kilter feature

Kaho, Shota Sometani

Dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Japan. 2017. 140 min.

“It all began with a sense of foreboding.” So begins Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Foreboding (Yocho), a curiously human-scaled end-of-days drama that never raises its voice above a whisper. That sense of foreboding continues all the way to the end, and though the film does score points for an original spin on a familiar Invasion Of The Body Snatchers theme, its act does begin to wear a bit thin when spread over a languid 140 minutes.

Foreboding’s original format is most apparent in the film’s unhurried pace

That’s not how it started out, however. Playing in Berlin’s Panorama Special, this version of Foreboding collapses five episodes of a TV mini-series that aired as a companion piece to Kurosawa’s 2017 film Before We Vanish; and it shows, resulting in a theatrical experience that leaves viewers with the slight discomfort of having binged too much. Still, Kurosawa’s talents behind the camera are undeniable, and that should make this film an easy sell to his many fans around the globe, even if it doesn’t seem as likely to breakout beyond them.

Foreboding’s original format is most apparent in the film’s unhurried pace; though we’re introduced to lead character Etusko (Kaho) right at the top, she spends the first thirty minutes or so investigating a side plot that subsequently falls away. The main narrative tracks a jealous triangle between Etsuko, her husband Yamigawa (Shota Sometani) and the dead-eyed Dr. Makebe (former model Masahiro Higashide). Dr Makebe, though, is a shape-shifting extraterrestrial who has come to Earth to learn its customs ahead of an upcoming invasion and finds, in Etsuko, the one human who cannot fall under his control. …

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