On sui­cide watch, with fire­works

New Straits Times - - LIFE & TIMES - ns­tent@nst.com.my

THIS is a hard-hit­ting movie about sui­cide. The sec­ond fea­ture movie by Ja­panese tele­vi­sion se­ries and com­mer­cials di­rec­tor Yoshio Kato, the story is about Happa (Kanji Tsuda) who starts an on­line sui­cide cha­t­room called Life Club.

In a rusty, no-frills cabin some­where, he waits for his clients with a 90-cen­time­tre fire­works ball. He has a plan to com­mit sui­cide to­gether with mem­bers of an In­ter­net sui­cide cha­t­room called Life Club.

The mem­bers en­ter the cabin one by one but the first three are shocked when No. 4 walks in. She is just a school­girl, Tsukiko (Honoka Mu­rakami) and the three adults try to con­vince her not to kill her­self.

Be­ing treated as a child too young to die, she gets so an­gry that she pushes the but­ton to ig­nite the fire­works ball. We see the beau­ti­ful fire­works ex­plo­sion in the for­est and sky. And the next scene shows Happa do­ing the same thing he did be­fore the ex­plo­sion.

This Ground­hog Day ef­fect goes on a few times, with the three adults try­ing to save the young Tsukiko. But ev­ery re­liv­ing is an op­por­tu­nity for the adult char­ac­ters to tell why they want to end their lives.

For ex­am­ple, Shi­nobu Tsuji is a mum whose son is killed in a car ac­ci­dent when she is at the wheel. She can­not for­give her­self for that tragedy. Hence, her pres­ence at this Life Club.

Happa re­lates how he lost an ac­count for fire­works and landed into debt. So, he thinks killing him­self will get his fam­ily the in­sur­ance.

The third adult, Baby Doll (Mine­hiro Ki­nomoto of TV se­ries Ka­men Rider W. fame), con­fesses about his in­abil­ity to be a good doc­tor.

Tsukiko is a vic­tim of school bul­ly­ing, and as a con­se­quence of that, she stole money from her mum. The pain of each char­ac­ter is in­tensely de­picted by the cam­era and the ac­tors them­selves.

Through 3ftBall&Souls , the di­rec­tor of­fers rea­sons for liv­ing. A dif­fi­cult sub­ject, han­dled with a deft hand at sto­ry­telling. It is a heavy watch but the end­ing is worth it.

15th Ja­panese Film Fes­ti­val

where Jo­hor Baru @ GSC Par­a­digm Mall JB, Sept 20-23; Kuching @ GSC Ci­tyONE Mega­mall, Oct 4-7; Kota Kinabalu @

GSC Suria Sabah, Oct 4-7

Visit www.gsc.com.my for de­tails

Tsukiko, played by Honoka Mu­rakami, be­ing bul­lied by her school mates.

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