Just Remembering Is Beautiful Counter Programming

Dept. of Labours and Lost Loves


Let me begin with a sweeping statement. Understand that this is absolutely an oversimplification. But while I was watching Matsui Daigo’s Just Remembering, I was reminded of how slow Japanese cinema can be. And how, after a steady diet of Western content, slow can really be quite nice and refreshing. Kinda like having a nice quiet Saturday after a hectic week at the office. 

This movie, which is now screening as part of The Japanese Film Festival 2022 at GSC, is precisely that. It is a nice quiet Saturday after a hectic week at the office.

Let Me Tell You A Story

Just Remembering tells the story of two former lovers, Teruo, a theatre lighting technician, and Yo’u, a taxi driver, as they go about this one particular day. Actually, to be more accurate, this one particular date. Just Remembering is a love story told in reverse, with the former lovers starting in present day, moving back into the past, and seeing how this one particular date played out over the years of their relationship.

We see the breakup, the strains, the difficult times, but also the sweet and loving moments between them. We see their blossoming love, but also their slow heartache. And by telling the story in reverse, framed on this one day, Matsui Daigo has somehow retooled a fairly simple story of romance, into a new thing altogether.

Told over the course of one day, Teruo’s birthday, over five years, and in reverse, there is a real sense of time flowing. Every “time jump” is signposted with a shot of Teruo’s clock at home, and while it may not be a “blink and you’ll miss it” moment, its presence as a signifier of a time jump is never made a meal of by the director. The shot remains the same every time, as it sweeps across Teruo’s room, and you slowly realise that things have changed.

Just Remembering The Past

But the real key in Just Remembering are the performances. 

Sôsuke Ikematsu’s Teruo and Sairi Itô’s Yo’u start off at opposite sides of the professional spectrum. Teruo is a confident, popular, up-and-coming dancer at a dance school, and she a new taxi driver. Over the course of their relationship, their fate starts to turn. And in this we see their confidence and personality shift too. It’s all subtle, and of course done in reverse, so the shift is easily missed.

The break down of the relationship between these two lovers was never because of any one big thing. There is no big dramatic moment. The failure of this relationship feels honest and real. Theirs is a relationship that, looking back, can best be described as just “one of those things.” The two lovers slowly changed, drifted apart, and broke up.

Just Remembering may be filled with sadness and melodrama, but it never trips into the dramatic. There is no big fight. No big confrontation. Matsui Daigo leaves that salaciousness to the private. This isn’t that movie. Just like its title, Just Remembering is just two people remembering the past.

This may not be the most exciting movie at the Japanese Film Festival, but if you’re looking for a nice palate cleanser to all that fast paced, noisy, action filled content we’ve all been consuming lately, then this movie is definitely for you.

Just Remembering is screening at GSC as part of the Japanese Film Festival 2022. Although you can’t use it for this movie, you can win tickets to be redeemed for any of the other 11 films here.

Click here for the full movie lineup and screening details of the Japanese Film Festival 2022.

For more information about the Japanese Film Festival 2022, visit the official JFKL website here.

Bahir likes to review movies because he can watch them at special screenings and not have to interact with large groups of people who may not agree with his idea of what a movie going experience is. Bahir likes jazz, documentaries, Ken Burns, and summer blockbuster movies. He really hopes that the HBO MAX Green Lantern series will help the character be cool again. Also don’t get him started on Jason Momoa’s Aquaman (#NotMyArthurCurry).

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