‘Works and Days’ Review: The Time of Our Lives

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In “Works and Days (Tayoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin)”, a woman walks through life on her family’s farm in a Japanese mountain village. As her husband falls ill, she spends more and more time on housework, although visits from friends and relatives bring comfort and joy. The film, shot over 14 months, is a life event in itself, lasting eight hours.

You can go back to an incoming line. “Inside Llewyn Davis” Delivered by Bud (F. Murray Abraham) after listening to Llewyn’s (Oscar Isaac) song: “I don’t see a lot of money here.” But as I watched “The Works and Days,” I began to feel that it might fit perfectly into someone who is breaking through a pandemic film shortage: Its homey surroundings and abundantly photographed natural world raise the senses and bring attention to light, color, and beautiful subtleties. friendly feelings.

How the movie passes the time is how you or I will probably pass the time, or most of it—through routines and conversations that connect our moments and ourselves. The film opens with a fun drinking session followed by a journey home that leaves us in the home world at the heart of the film. With her actual diary entries periodically read aloud, Tayoko (Tayoko Shiojiri) is seen caring for the household, chatting with neighbors bringing food (a touching community bond), sharing stories with her granddaughter, and visiting a temple. Her adoring husband, Junji (Kaoru Iwahana), loves to blow in the breeze and watch the board game Go matches on TV.

A string of nostalgia and even regret curl up between conversations. Filmmakers CW Winter and Anders Edstrom (Tayoko’s son-in-law) linger on objects so they vividly feel they’re there, but also like memories, reminiscent of footage of a lost and found camera roll. This isn’t a long-running movie determined to make you feel the weight of labor (it could be, though). The directors’ camera eye feeds more muscle memory for these places through sonic expansions and finely rendered images of trellises (berries or wires), opaque screens and windows, and sloppy pottery. “The Works and Days” also absorbs the depths of night and twilight, as few movies do, and takes advantage of the darkness of a theatre.

The film reflects how people organize experiences through our memories and actions, but filmmakers also have a self-awareness of their steadfast methods. One of the five parts of the movie opens with the observation: “In the fifth month, one is full of willows.” Their passion for decentralized shots can be a little stubborn. But as someone in the movie said, the only wish from the people you love is that you can spend more time with them – and the same can be said for the most beautiful images in this movie.

Jobs and Days (by Tayoko Shiojiri in Shiotani Basin)
Not rated. Working time: 8 hours. In movie theaters.

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