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Laundry
INTRODUCTION STORY DIRECTOR'S PROFILE
REVIEW CAST & STAFF  

Clear as purest water and heartwarminga gift from an angel

TERU, a pure-hearted young man who works at a coin-laundry, bears a scar on his head that mirrors the scarred souls of the customers who visit this establishment. One day, a mysterious woman comes to the coin-laundry, then disappears, leaving behind a forgotten dress.
Hoping to return the garment, TERU steps out of his own world for the first time and sets out on a journey. His innocent soul casts a spell on all of us seeking to change our lives and ourselves. Set in a world of enchanted Japanese scenery from long ago, the movie coveys a feeling of slowed time that will stir half-forgotten memories. This is a movie that fills the viewer with the courage to face the next day.

Winner of the Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award Japan 2000

The screenplay for "Laundry" received the Japan Award 2000 at the Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award, which continues to introduce high-quality films.
This movie is a joint production of five companies. Production house ROBOT has previously made popular movies including "Bayside Shakedown" (holder of the all-time number four ranking in the Japanese national consecutive box office record) and "Love Letter," directed by IWAI Shunji. NHK Enterprises 21, Media Factory, Hakuhodo, and Imagica are the other production partners.
The screenplay was written by MORI Junichi in his directorial debut. His delicate sensibility and elegant visual style are sure to inspire audiences.

Laundromats give people the opportunity to wash away all the sweat and stains of their lives. Clean clothes give them a chance to start afresh. Twenty-year-old Teru works for his grandmother at her coin laundry. In reality, all he does is watch to see that no creep steals any women's underwear. Teru had an accident when he was small which impaired his intellectual ability to the point that he can no longer distinguish between his fantasies and the real world. One day a strikingly beautiful woman named Mizue walks in and leaves one of her dresses behind in the machine, a dress still stained with blood from her failed suicide attempt.
Teru decides to find Mizue in order to return the dress, after having tried desperately to render it clean. Teru locates Mizue and brings her back to the city. Soon thereafter Teru's grandmother dies, and her creditors repossess the home in which Teru and Mizue are living. The young couple turn to Sally for help. Sally is a caring man who trains pigeons for a living. When Sally decides to hit the road, he leaves everything he owns to Teru and Mizue. They start a new life.
Teru proposes to Mizue, but she refuses him. The more she is assured of Teru's pure heart, the more she feels she doesn't deserve it. Full of inner turmoil, Mizue begins shoplifting...

DIRECTOR'S PROFILE

Junichi Mori|Born in 1967, Mori has worked his way up to the TV/Film industry as assistant director, writer, TV-CF director since 1990. In March 1999, he wrote and directed a short TV drama for Fuji Television Network gA Pretty Girl named H2hthe lie of an 18 years oldÓ which had been awarded the 1998 Galaxy Judge Award which aims to discover new talents in directing and acting applicants are required to submit a story targeting the late hour viewers.
gLaundryh, his feature debut to be, has been awarded the Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award in January 2000, as one of the four winners selected among 3,000 applicants.

REVIEW


By Derek Elley

One of the most striking discoveries at this year's Montreal fest, "Laundry" is a slow-burning, offbeat character comedy that announces a considerable talent in first time writer-director Junichi Mori, 34. A three-hander built round the weird young owner of a laundromat, a mysterious woman who swims into his life and a seriously spacy pigeon-trainer, pic builds in a precise, organic way into a shy romantic comedy that's totally winning.
With a modicum of trimming, and in the hands of devoted distribs, this could score as a niche attraction.
Explaining how he's been a bit brain-damaged since he fell down a manhole when young, Teru (Yosuke Kubozuka) sits outside his grandma's coin-op laundry making sure customers don't steal clothing. When the beautiful but lonely Mizue (Koyuki) leaves a garment behind, he runs after her and she invites him up for a cup of tea, asking him to hold her hand for five minutes. A friendship is born.
Teru's life is just slightly out of joint. At home, his sisters hate each other; at work, a guy climbs inside a tumble dryer and refuses to come out. Teru hits the road in search of Mizue again, and hitches a ride with Sally (Takashi Naito), a beer-swilling martinet who takes a gruff liking to the unnaturally serene young man and offers his help if ever needed.
Finally locating Mizue, who's moved to another town, Teru stays with her and the two decide to find Sally who, it turns out, raises white pigeons for wedding ceremonies. The three form a weird but happy household, until one day Sally announces he's going abroad "to marry a woman with big tits." Left alone, Teru and Mizue are faced with working out their world together.
Pic demands some patience during its first hour prior to the threesome getting together, but richly rewards the viewer thereafter with sudden shafts of loopy humor and the growing attraction between the two damaged souls. He says she reminds him of a girl he fell for many years ago; she says he's "saving" her just by being around -- a remark that only becomes clear in the final act.
Lensed with great precision and sense of composition by Kozo Shibasaki, and outfitted with a delicate score by Zentaro Watanabe, the picture is sustained by acute playing from its leads, especially Kubozuka as the semi-childlike but not-so-dumb Teru and Naito as the weirdo pigeon-trainer. An animation sequence adds little to what is already in the movie, and the final reels could be tighter, but otherwise "Laundry" comes up fresh, crisp and bright.

Reviewed at Montreal Film Festival (Cinema of Tomorrow), Aug. 25, 2001.

CAST & STAFF

CAST:

  • Yosuke Kubozuka (Teru)
  • Koyuki (Mizue)
  • Naito Takashi (Sally)
  • Kennichiro Tanabe
  • Katsumi Muramatsu
  • Kazue Tsunogai
  • Hana Kino
  • Risa Nishimura

STAFF:

  • Written and directed by Junichi Mori
  • Executive producers: Shuji Abe, Noriyuki Nishimura, Yasuo Masuhiro, Yasutaka Otsuka, Tsutomu Takano
  • Producers: Toru Horibe, Chikahiro Ando
  • Director of Photography: Kozo Shibasaki
  • Lighting: Nariyuki Ueda
  • Production designer: Hisashi Sasaki
  • Music by Zentaro Watanabe
  • Animation: Maya Maxx
  • Editing: Hiroshi Matsuo
(C)PONYCANYON