NORWEGIAN WOOD (Mongrel, 2010) D: Anh Dung Tran, w/ Ken’ichi Matsuyama, Rinko Kikuchi. Rating: NNNN; DVD package: NNN Rating: NNNN
Norwegian Wood's acting is delicate, restrained and very still. Its visuals are lush, beautiful and expressive. Together, they make a deeply touching coming-of-age tale that never strains for effect and has much more on its mind than adolescent anxieties about getting laid.
When Kizuki inexplicably commits suicide at 16, his best friend, Toru, moves away to go to university. A year or so later, Kizuki's long-time girlfriend, Naoko, shows up, still disturbed about Kizuki and sexually dysfunctional. Toru is torn between her and outgoing Midori.
The hour-long making-of doc and a few remarks from the cast at the Venice Film Festival provide a helpful look at the production.
EXTRAS Making-of doc, Venice Film Fest press conference. Japanese audio. English subtitles.