Recensie Small, slow but constant

Director: Shō Miyake | Script: Sho Miyake and Masaaki Sakai | Cast: Yukino Kishii (Keiko), Masaki Miura (Kobayashi), Shinichirô Matsuura (Matsumoto), Himi Satô (Seiji Ogawa), Hiroko Nakajima (Kiyomi Ogawa), Nobuko Sendô (Chiharu Sasaki), Tomokazu Miura (voorzitter Sasaki), ea | Time to play: 96 minutes | Year: 2022

Keiko boxing. She is young and driven and is far behind her opponents. Because she can’t hear what instructions her coach tells her, what the referee orders and when the gong sounds at the end of the round. Being deaf and boxing don’t go together, but Keiko has made it to the pro level and trains hard. But no matter how motivated you are, everyone can start to doubt: am I on the right path in life?

Small, slow but steady he takes the time to show what the core of the story is. It takes a while before he realizes what’s going on here, and especially where the tension is. Also, the movie doesn’t hold your hand much. It forces you to adopt the role of observer. And even if the stakes are small, on a personal Keiko level, you finally understand that the whole world is at stake.

Director Shô Miyake clearly has an eye for movement. Where the physicality of the sport of boxing speaks for itself, keep your distance and capture a drill for a long time. And where Keiko tries to keep micro-emotions hidden from her, the camera is close to her. The fact that it’s all shot on the warm grain of 16mm film only adds to a documentary authenticity reminiscent of British social realism films with a raw edge.

But all this does Small, slow but steady It’s not easy to see either. In that sense, the story is a bit like the Flintstones family car: in the absence of engine power, you have to deliberately jump in and get to work to get things moving. While that requires a bit more effort than sitting back and passively drifting, it also makes the ride all the more satisfying. Watching movies as a sport, so to speak.

What makes the viewing experience worthwhile is the performance of the lead actress Yukino Kishii. She has the heavy task of slowly letting you seep into her character, something the outside world would rather not allow too much. Acting, she builds a metaphorical wall and then tears it down again, with a persistent form of erosion. It’s a tender take on a rather cold character, and that’s not an easy balancing act.

Small, slow but steady it also plays in 2020, that is, during a period that we would prefer not to be remembered in the cinema. But the ubiquity of masks – even more than before in Asia, where they have been a part of the street scene for quite some time – further isolates Keiko from her environment. There are no lips to read, even fewer facial expressions to analyze. She really is as alone in her world as she can be.

Japan’s leading film magazine ‘Kinema Junpo’ shouted Small, slow but steady already voted the best Japanese film of 2022. And that is not surprising, because the skill with which this story has been modeled is striking. Greatness resides precisely in the small scale.

Varsha Rai

Hi, Varsha here. I am a very passionate writer with a knack for the art of words and I hope to share my stories and information in a way that is meaningful and inspiring. At, I write mostly on latest and upcoming movies, movie reviews and everything related to movies. Catch up with me on - [email protected]
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