Parade (Japanese Movie): Digging Deep Into the Roots of Human Interactions [☝]

July 28, 2013

This is one of the movies that was shown during this year's Eiga Sai, and I am so happy I did not dare miss it, because who knew this is one film that would disturb the calm sea of my consciousness about myself and the people around me.

promotional poster

I have already written a post about the film festival in the blog, but I was so moved by this film that my thoughts demanded a separate post just for this one to lay out my ideas and opinions about the film. The moment the film ended, I was left dangerously hanging at the edge demanding for more explanations of what and why those last events happened. I was disturbed. Immediately the next day, I further researched things about the movie and by then I realized the message that the movie was trying to convey.

*If you have not seen the film, I recommend you do, before reading the rest below. (spoilers alert!)*

Amicable Characters
The film has such lovable characters. I become more attached to them as the story progressed. Those five people who got to share the apartment seemed to be very comfortable with each other already. The film is divided into different sequences, each focusing on the lives of each of them. Each character had a distinct personality.

Naoki Ihara (played by Tatsuya Fujiwara)
I think among the five, he's the only one who has a direction in life. He works for a film distribution company. I think his housemates themselves acknowledge that he's a responsible man that's why in some parts of the film, they come to him for advice and to share some of their deepest thoughts. He's very health conscious and has this habit of jogging around the neighborhood at night. 

Mirai Soma (played by Karina)
She's an artist and a heavy drinker. I like her character a lot because she seemed to be very strong outside, but in reality that's only skin-deep. She divulges her frustrations by drinking a lot in a gay bar. I know some people who are heavy drinkers too. They love to go to clubs a lot. They seemed to be very carefree, like they don't worry much about life. But then maybe this is their way of escaping from something awful in their life, something that they lack the courage to face.

Kotomi Okochi (played by Shihori Kanjiya)
 An aspiring actress who is enslaved by her love for a celebrity, her role is one of my fantasies actually. She gets to date her celebrity crush! One scene she's watching his drama on TV, and then on the next one she's actually kissing him in a room in a hotel somewhere. But my fantasy stops there because the succeeding events becomes a nightmare for her part. Her celebrity boyfriend decides to call it off after discovering her pregnancy.

Satoru Kukubo (played by Kento Hayashi)
Of all the characters in the movie, he's my favorite. He's a male prostitute who happens to arrive on the other four's apartment after an intoxicated Mirai drags him into the house after hanging out in the gay bar. He's a happy-go-lucky and a cheerful person, but very mysterious at the same time. He has this queer habit of sneaking into houses, though he does not steal anything. He just makes himself feel at home in that foreign house. Naoki once stalked him, and saw him sneak inside a house. Satoru just happily looked around the house and even helped himself with some coffee. He's homeless and just sleeps anywhere he could (even on a merry-go-round in an amusement park). The other four decides to take him into the apartment after the night Mirai dragged him in.

Ryosuke Sugimoto (Keisuke Koide)
A student who leads a life with no direction, he's just this typical neighborhood youth who likes to bum around. He has a secret admiration on his friend's girl and the movie shows how he dealt with this complicated situation.

Shallowly-Interrelated Lives
I was amused by the close relationships these characters seemed to have as the movie showed each of their lives and their interactions in the apartment. Ryosuke teases Kotomi about losing her eyebrows because she is always seen plucking them every morning. Kotomi dares Ryosuke to investigate their next-door neighbor that they suspect to be a brothel, but later discovers that the place just actually houses one infamous fortune-teller (I really found Ryosuke's expression funny when he told this discovery to his housemates. xD). Naoki helps Satoru by giving him a part-time job in the filming company. Mirai shares a heart-to-heart talk with Naoki after she discovered Satoru meddled with a videotape that she kept for a long time. Kotomi confides with Naoki her situation with her boyfriend and asks for his help and advice.

Despite these hints of close relationship among the five, each person still has deep and dark secrets unknown to anyone. For me, some of the dramatic and telling scenes of the movie were during the conversations between Satoru and a fellow prostitute in the park, between Satoru and Mirai at the amusement park, between Mirai and Naoki after the videotape incident, and (of course!!) between Satoru and Naoki in the car near the end of the story.

Message of the Film
The twist at the end was really unexpected. It blew me away, leaving me disturbed and questioning things not just about the plot, but also about reality. Several theories and lots of conspiracies flooded my thoughts and I just had to research further about the plot of the story on the internet to enlighten myself. I really liked this one review, which simply stated all my thoughts about the film.

The story opened my eyes that actually I really don't know anyone, and no one will really get to know me. Of course, each of us will have secrets that we won't tell anyone. Also upon contemplating for some time, I realized why Satoru is my favorite character in the film. I myself have played a role like that in real life, in my own circle of friends. There were several points in my life wherein I was the "safe keeper" of the group. I knew their secrets. I got to know those undisclosed unappealing thoughts of one friend towards another friend. However, to maintain "harmony" in the group, I just kept my mouth shut and left it for the two of them to face their problem (but most of the time, nothing was addressed, and the conflict was never resolved).

My thoughts about the film are endless, which could go from issues within my own family, to friends and even to myself. Thankfully, I got to express my ideas about the film with my sister. We actually spent the whole night talking about it. We realized how our real-life situation connects to that of the film. It really saddened us.

Surely, this is one film that I won't forget for the rest of my life. I'm just glad that this film addressed problems that I thought was nonexistent in my own situation. By finally acknowledging its presence, I now know what to fight. I'm really thankful that I got to watch this film. It's also a blessing that I have my sister with me in this battle.  



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