Akarui mirai / Bright Future

Akarui mirai / Bright Future (2003)


Director: Kurosawa Kiyoshi
Writers: Kurosawa Kiyoshi
Date: 2003

Genre: Drama
Description: Jellyfish, acclimation, lost youths, things that don’t work, new liking the old, dreams, death, life, and metaphors. Oh, and twinkly things.

Cast: Odagiri Jô, Asano Tadanobu, Fuji Tatsuya

Crew of note:

Runtime: 115 mins.
Color: Color

Yûji and Mamoru are friends who hang out and pretty much like to do nothing. When Mamoru goes through a series of troubles, he leaves his jellyfish, who they’ve been acclimatizing to fresh water, with Yûji. Alone, disconnected from society, and feeling that typical youthful disillusionment, Yûji tries to search for meaning in his life while taking care of crazy jellyfish.

Kurosawa Kiyoshi is best known for his psychological thriller/horror movies Pulse and Cure, but this movie can stand on its own against them. Plus, Jellyfish are certainly more interesting (and more common?) than psychos, monsters, or the paranormal. Also, they’re quite shiny and illuminated.

Although it seems like the jellyfish will be the stars of this movie, it turns out Odagiri’s character gets most of the screen time. I was surprised to find that this is more a film about… a dude. Just another normal dude. I suppose I was too excited about jellyfish.

Despite my initial disappointment, I was quickly convinced of the film’s quality. Perfect shooting style, with high contrast and spaced out whites, alluding to the title and giving the entire movie a dream like quality. Music was great too, a whimsical, dramatic, electronic score that does its best when it acts against the scenes. Still, halfway through, I was looking for jellyfish massacres at the beach, or possibly a giant mutated jellyfish zapping Tokyo with its tentacles. Kurosawa throws a curve ball and instead follows Yûji through his rather mundane and meandering life. Although the movie seems to be rather plotless, or rather, avoids the plot that would have made it more successful and accessible (jellyfish or hot chicks), Kurosawa creates a deceptively simple movie filled with complex metaphors of whatifs, youth, and life with dreams and broken things.

Expecting something similar to Kurosawa’s other films, I was delightfully surprised. This one is slow, sparse, meditative, and explores disconnection, relationships, and an obsession with fixing things. Not quite the jellyfishdisaster movie I was hoping for, but certainly something of greater value.

things to take note of
Asano’s cool pants
The father-son relationship between a father and a son. Who aren’t related.
Oooooohhhh.. Shiny! Jellyfish!

best moment
On the roof

why you should watch this
Asano Tadanobu and Odagiri Jo are two of the most interesting actors of their generation
Surprisingly touching film

rating: 8

Plot: B
Cast: B
Cinematography: B+
Music: B+
Entertainment: B

similar movies, maybe:
Helpless, directed by Aoyama Shinji, also starring Asano
Tenten / Adrift in Tokyo, directed by Miki Satoshi, also starring Odagiri