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Kakera: A Piece of Our Life 
Written by: on June 2nd, 2010

Theatrical Release Date:
Japan, 2009
Director: Momoko Ando
Writer: Momoko Ando
Cast: Hikari Mitsushima, Eriko Nakamura, Tasuku Nagaoka, Ken Mitsuishi, Toshie Negishi, Rino Katase

DVD released: June 21st, 2010
Approximate running time: 107 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese
Subtitles: English
DVD Release: Third Window Films
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £14.99

Synopsis: A young woman named Haru looks for love elsewhere. After she becomes dissatisfied with her boyfriend, who is only interested in a psychical relationship. Alone and depressed Haru encounters a young woman named Riko at a coffee shop, who gives her the emotional connection that she has longed for.

The screenplay for Kakera: A Piece of Our Life was adapted from a Manga titled “Love Vibes” that was created by Erika Sakurazawa. The score for Kakera: A Piece of Our Life was composed by James Iha who is a former member of the alternate rock band The Smashing Pumpkins. He also composed the score for Nobuhiro Yamashita’s Linda, Linda, Linda.

At the core of Kakera: A Piece of Our Life is story about being happy with who you are and not losing yourself in what others would want you to be. Besides being a film about self discovery. The film also takes on a more social commentary when it explores how society frown’s upon homosexuality. This issues plays a important part in Haru and Riko’s turbulent romance.

Performance wise even though the entire cast more than hold their own in their respective roles. The film’s greatest asset is the extraordinary performances from its two leads Hikari Mitsushima (Love Exposure) in the role of Haru and Eriko Nakamura in the role of Riko. The scenes in which they interact are by far and away the most compelling.

Kakera: A Piece of Our Life was written and directed by Momoko Ando. Direction wise she does a remarkable job letting the characters and each new revelations just the right amount of time to resonate. Visually her direction while at times stylish. It is never intrusive. In all for a first time director her grasp of the language of cinema is very strong. I eagerly await her future cinematic endeavors.

The DVD:

Third Window Films presents Kakera: A Piece of Our Life in a anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer is a NTSC to PAL standards conversion which does exhibits some minor instances aliasing. For the most part the image remains stable. Colors and flesh tones look accurate. Black levels look good and edge enhancement is minimal. Outside of a few instances where the image looks too soft. The image generally look crisp.

This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in Japanese. The audio sounds clear, balanced and at times robust. Removable English subtitles that are error free and easy to read have been included.

Extras foe this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 51 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles), a Q & A with writer / director Momoko Ando at the film’s London premier (21 minutes 41 seconds – letterboxed widescreen) and a interview with¬† Momoko Ando (28 minutes 32 seconds – letterboxed widescreen). The Q & A and the interview are moderated by Japanese film expert Jasper Sharp. The Q & A and one on one interview with writer / director Momoko Ando are insightful extras help put into perspective the film and its filmmaker. Also included with this release are trailers for other film’s also available on DVD from Third Window Films. Overall the issues with the transfer take away from what could have been first rate DVD release from Third Window Films.

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