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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Norwegian Wood (Noakos Lächeln) (Noruwei no mori)

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Starts June 30

Original language: Japanese

norwegian woodDirected by Anh Hung Tran, this Japanese film is based on the bestseller written by Haruki Murakami in 1987. It takes us back to the 1960s where Toru Watanabe (Ken’ichi Matsuyama) reflects on his years at college. His best friends at the time were Naoke (Rinko Kikuchi) and Kizuki (Kengo Köra) who seemed to be a couple at the time until Kizuki kills himself at age 17.  Later we find out that the couple was unable to sleep together and Kizuki thought that he was the failure in the relationship but, as Naoke becomes involved with Toru, we find out that she is the one who is unable to manage it.

The film is described through beautiful seasonal changes and nature plays a role of trying to give us clues about the characters and their demises. Toru stands between two women, Naoke and Midori, whom he met at college. Toru can’t break the tie to Naoke due to a sense of responsibility which is quite frustrating for him since the relationship can’t truly be fulfilled due to her mental instability. Toru falls for Midori who is lively and funny but Naoke is still there even in his deepest thoughts. The film is filled with mystery and uncertainty. The viewer can sense ToruSdilemma and wonder what he is willing to do to stay with Naoke. 

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