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Dolls (2002)Dolls (2002)—Japanese

Matsumoto left his job on his wedding day to return to his true love Sawako, who in despair at his decision to marry another girl (the daughter of his boss) for parental approval tried to kill herself. She failed, and her attempt left her speechless, emotionally vacant, and prone to bizarre behavior like shoplifting. But he devotes himself fully to her, and throughout the film the two lovers reconnect not only literally but also metaphorically when, bound by a red cord around their waists, they wander together as "bound beggars" throughout the four seasons of the year. In a parallel love story, the old man Hiro reflects on how he left his girl for a job when he was as young (the opposite of Matsumoto's choice). He too reconnects since when he left decades earlier his lover promised to wait for him every Saturday with a box lunch. True to her word, Hiro finds her waiting, in the same dress and in the exact same place. In a third story, a famous pop icon Haruna is disfigured in a car accident, and agrees to meet an infatuated groupie, Nukui, who blinded himself out of devotion to her. Tragedy, tenderness, devotion, and brutal murders characterize all three stories. Dolls was an official selection at film festivals in Toronto, London, New York, and Cannes. The visuals in this film are stunning, but I am sure that the cultural subtleties and symbolism are lost on viewers like me who do not understand Japanese culture well enough. In Japanese with English subtitles.

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