Memories of Matsuko

It is always effective when styles are used in films to communicate stories that would have otherwise been dull without the specific styles. Memories of Matsuko utilizes this narrative by telling the story of the heroine Matsuko through her nephew Sho. Actually, the film is a flashback of the life of the former and is only narrated after her death. Eventually, the film tells the story of the life of Matsuko in a manner that captures the mind of the viewer not only for the fascination involved but the manner in which the story is told. The sacrifices that the heroine made in her life are somewhat thrilling and this is depicted through the reliving of her life as told by Sho. Memories of Matsuko tells a story of a woman searching for love but eventually dies lonely.

The film incorporates the use of flashback to depict snippets of Matsuko’s early childhood where her life is painted as overtly troubled. In their house, the father never gave her the much needed attention, a situation which obviously affected her later life. But it was not only attention that she was denied but also the love and affection to show her that she had any real meaning. The film records her father as confessing that “Matsuko had a meaningless life”. However, this cannot be farther from the truth as the meaningless of Matsuko cannot be quantified or expressed in words. Perhaps the reason for this assertion from her father has to do with the fact that she had learned how to live a covert life and not show her real feelings. Obviously, her father gave all his attention to her chronically ill sister and did not know how to balance his love amongst all the children.

In addition to the use of flashback elements, the film incorporates perfectly crafted images. For instance, the director’s visual creativity is evidenced from the start to the end of the film and the different visuals are used to tell different aspects in the film. Actually, one could confuse the film for a fairy tale so colorful that it seems like each frame was plucked from a picture book. For instance, in telling aspects that involve love and joy, the film incorporates pictures and imagery as beautiful. On the other hand, instances of sorrow are represented using dull images. The ability of the director to incorporate the right images in different instances affects the mood of the viewer leading them with the subject of the film at every instance.

The film is filled with repeated words and this is effective in stressing the important life events in Matsuko’s life. For instance, her father occasionally mentioned that “Matsuko had a meaningless life” to point to a woman whose life was always troubled. In addition, Matsuko had a chronically, clumsy and unhappy life because of the kind of lifestyle that she was living. Moreover, the word “why” is repeatedly uttered by Matsuko in expression of disappointment every time any of her lovers leave her. This repetition portrays a pattern of disappointment in the life of Matsuko. It is also worth noting that the phrase “my life is over” is repeatedly uttered in several instances. For instance, when she got sacked from school and also when the first lover left her and committed suicide. Moreover, it is also uttered when she stabbed her third lover for leaving her.

The film is also unique in that it uses different methods of directing thereby providing a holistic view of all the aspects in the film. For instance, the directing methods differ depending on the decade being depicted in the film. There is also a perfect combination of visuals to give the film a multiplexed view that incorporates different musical insertions. For example, the choice of the musical video is effective in showing Matsuko’s past when she was nearly a prostitute through the use of garish colors and fast editing. In contrast, the film portrays her happy life using a video taken in prioson that uses darker and somber colors.

While Matsuko’s relationship with many men may be viewed as immoral and could possibly form part of the fact that her father thought of her as a meaningless person, she seemed to gain more than hurt. It is true that she moved from one man to the next and that most of these men gave her only a slight taste of the love she deserved. However, her contribution in making these men happy is nothing that can be quantified correctly. Even when these men continued to abuse her in return, she never ceased form her quest to find true love. Ironically, however, Matsuko finds herself working as a prostitute at one point and leading to her imprisonment. It is through her love for a majority of the people that Matsuko finds meaning for life. In fact, her dread for being alone is reason for the actions she partakes in.

In addition, the film uses fantastic soundtrack in bringing out the pop culture throughout the movie. In fact, so enthralling is the musicals that viewers are almost forced to sing along to the tunes as they perfectly relate to the events in the movie. The film turns out to be a classic symbiosis of a drama, comedy and musical. Further afield, the film use beautiful pictures in portraying the life of the late Matsuko. Even when the mood of the movie is dull, the director uses garish colors that are not only captivating but excellently taken. Moreover, the film uses the perfectly set lighting to dictate the mood of the movie and tell a story without having to utter words. Despite the lighting looking intentionally artificial, it is equally captivating making the film a unique piece of art.

The uniqueness with which the story is told is evidence of the director’s prowess. He incorporates drama in a sarcastic fashion making the viewer laugh while crying at the same instance. The story is told through different flashbacks of Matsuko’s life while playing the main instrument of the film. Every period of the time depicted in the film has its unique characteristic thus unfolding the many strokes of fate that the main character overcame in her troubled life. In addition, the narration of the story through the eyes of Sho is an attempt to avail the viewer with a companion who can guide the viewer through the journey of exploring Matsuko’s life.

Towards the end of the film, Matsuko’s hopes of finding happiness through love are dealt a bigger blow when Ryu abandons her. It would be expected that a person whom she had saved while at the school would return the favor and save her at her time of need. However, as is characteristic of the film, events unfold in a different fashion again proving the viewer wrong in his prediction. By this time, Ryu is a cruel criminal who has no space for love and who actually thinks that loving Matsuko would put her on the limelight. In a bid to protect her from the risk of criminality, he disappears from her life. What Ryu doesn’t know is that Matsuko has realized that she loves him and wants him for a partner. It turns out that Matsuko ends up heartbroken when Ryu runs away from her.

In addition to telling a story perfectly, the film is also enchanting in its use of humor, fantastic soundtrack and great visuals. It is not always that directors combine all these aspects perfectly well without losing the focus of the drama. The ability of the movie to maintain its main theme of drama is a commendable and impressive work of art. The combination of appealing acting, music and pictures leave a lasting impression on the viewers.


Works cited

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