Nowegian Wood (15)

Starring: Kenichi Matsuyama, Rinko Kikuchi, Kengo Kôra
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The Independent Culture

Based on Haruki Murakami's bestselling novel, this unfolds a story of lost love with lyrical tenderness and an unblinking eroticism.

Setin Tokyo during student upheavals in 1968, it considers the attraction between diffident Watanabe (Kenichi Matsuyama) and the fragile Naoko (Rinko Kikuchi), both of them haunted by the suicide of their close friend Kizuki years before. At times the writer-director Tran Anh Hung seems bent on hypnotising us with two-shots and close-ups that last an eternity. The nostalgic perspective of Murakami's book has been lost, though Matsuyama and Kiko Mizuhara as a vivacious fellow student catch an affecting note of youthful confusion. The glacial pace, on the other hand, will put even sympathetic souls to the test.