Jeonju Film Festival: A Courtesan with Flowered Skin 花宵道中 (2014) - Japan

Jeonju Film Festival: A Courtesan with Flowered Skin 花宵道中 (2014) – Japan

Jeonju Film Festival: A Courtesan with Flowered Skin 花宵道中 (2014) – Japan

Reviewed by Andrew Chan

Reviewed at 16th Jeonju International Film Festival, 2015

Date: 8th May 2015

Director: Keisuke Toyoshima

Cast: Yumi Adachi, Yasushi Fuchikami, Ena Koshino, Tomochika, Saki Takaokaù

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One of the few bright spots of the 2015 Jeonju International Film Festival comes in the form of a love story between a courtesan and an fabric artisan.

Director Toyoshima Keisuke perfectly paced the 102 minutes running time through gradually building of characters and the best moments in the film remains when the lovers stare at each other helplessly in a scene where the courtesan is being forcefully having sex with the artisan’s biggest client. Most films would falter in such a moment, but this one excels and build on from this to create a film that will touch the heart of most romantics. Yuki Adachi gives a heartfelt performance that combines beauty, class and character despite being nothing more than a prositute. Her simple moments are the best, her reactions to being blown away at the genuine assistance of the artisan gentleman is believable and perhaps setting the tone for the rest of the film.

Setting in the period Edo Era in Japan, being a woman is not easy, let alone a courtesan where they lives are essentially doomed to begin with. The beauty of why this film worked so well is because of its ability to play out the scenes, build its characters and a sustainable story that at its very essence is rather romantic. I especially enjoyed the final quote about love, “she never lost hope for love and life, she just find her greatest blossom.” It is a lovely way to finish of a hugely romantic film that will leave most hopeless romantics like myself indulged with emotions.

All in all, “A Courtesan with Flowered Skin” works because it is directed in a simple and classic manner much in line with the traditional Edo era setting. Elegance and graceful are not usually words associated with Courtesans, but somehow Yuri Adachi manages to pull this of in the most rounded manner. Life is not easy and as a hopeless romantic like myself, I have grown to understand how difficult it to find “your greatest blossom” and this film perfectly encapsulated that feeling.

Recommended film and endorsed by HK Neo Reviews  

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