Vision (2018)

Director: Naomi Kawase
Writer: Naomi Kawase
Cast: Juliette Binoche, Masatoshi Nagase, Takanori Iwata, Minami, Mirai Moriyama, Min Tanaka, Mari Natsuki
Seen on: 14.8.2019

Travel author Jeanne (Juliette Binoche) makes her way to Japan to find out more about a mysterious plant said to have healing powers. The plant – called Vision – is said to bloom only once every 1000 years, and only in one particular forest in Nara. When Jeanne and her translator Hana (Minami) arrive there, they meet the grumpy woodsman Satoshi (Masatoshi Nagase). He gives them a place to stay, almost despite himself, but then Satoshi and Jeanne start to grow closer.

Vision sounds like a standard romance, but it is not. That didn’t really make it any more interesting to me, though, just more confusing.

The film poster showing Jeanne (Juliette Binoche), Satoshi (Masatoshi Nagase) and Rin (Takanori Iwata) as cutouts along a tree trunk photographed from below.

Vision, as I said, starts along well-known paths: the seeking traveler meets the grumpy woodsman. They get to know each other a little. Intimacy develops. We basically know how things will go from there. Or at least, we think we do. Up until that point, the film was slow and not particularly engaging, I have to admit. That is why I fell asleep.

When I woke up (after, I don’t know how long, 10, 15 minutes probably), I was in a completely different film though and I couldn’t really connect it to the film that started before. I woke in the middle of a sex scene where Satoshi turns into two other guys (?). And Hana was gone and in her place was Rin (Takanori Iwata), though I don’t think they were supposed to be the same person, just transformed.

Jeanne (Juliette Binoche), Satoshi (Masatoshi Nagase) and Rin (Takanori Iwata) in the forest, with Jeanne cradling Rin in her lap.

To top it all off, Jeanne has memories or visions. The film quiet literally lost the plot it established at the beginning and seemed to float off into another sphere. I spent the rest of it trying to piece things together and failing. And then I tried to figure out whether I was intrigued enough by the two parts I saw to watch the film again to try to fill in the blanks. But honestly, neither the slow beginning nor the wild ending really worked for me, and so I think I’ll just leave it at that.

Satoshi (Masatoshi Nagase) cradling Jeanne (Juliette Binoche) in his lap.

Summarizing: I dunno.

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