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FILM REVIEW: The Game Only We Know 我們的遊戲2 min read

27 March 2019 2 min read


FILM REVIEW: The Game Only We Know 我們的遊戲2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

From morning to evening, Yuki and Atsuko play a trivial “Choice” game. Whether under the sunlight or in the neon lights of the bustling city, they look young, beautiful, delicate and moving in their appearance. But in fact, with respect to life and love, they have already lost their rights to choose.

Director: Lin Kuan-Hui
Year: 2016
Cast: An Ogawa, Rin Honoka
Language: Japanese
Runtime: 19min

Review by Jean Wong

What first appears as an innocent film gradually takes on a melancholic turn through the day. A simple game between two friends has more consequences than one might expect In The Game Only We Know (2016).

The film starts with a picture of typicality — just two girls skipping school to have some fun. As Yuki (An Ogawa) and Atsuko (Rin Honoka) move through the city playing their game, it would not occur to anyone that something is wrong — at least not at first.

As the film unravels, however, we learn that the game is merely a facade. Having the entire film shot with an ethereal blurry effect accentuates the idea that Yuki and Atsuko are in a daydream, a stylistic decision on the director’s part — the “choice” game may appear as a pastime, but it more importantly serves as a coping mechanism for the two.

Though the film is just a simple reenactment of their day, the pacing does not feel skewed but rather, well-delivered. Each scene seems well thought-out and repeatedly reminds us of Yuki and Atsuko’s plight, making it difficult for us not to empathise with them.

The Game Only We Know plays with our emotions further by serving up melancholic music in the background, particularly in an incredibly moving montage scene. This eventually crescendos in the end, where we see Yuki struggle with the idea that, despite playing the “choice” game as much as she wants, she is still unable to change the circumstances she is in, for some things can never be changed.

The Game Only We Know does a remarkable job at telling a moving story of regret as it takes its audience on a psychological rollercoaster. With great direction by Lin Kuan-Hui, the poignant and bittersweet film is one not to be missed.

About Kaohsiung Shorts

高雄拍 (Kaohsiung Shorts) aims to make Kaohsiung the Taiwanese short film base, to discover and showcase new short films that break the norms, boundaries and stereotypes through the use of media. Started in 2012 by the Kaohsiung Film Archive, Kaohsiung Shorts is a short film grant that aims to encourage film talents to be based in Kaohsiung and be inspired by the city. Films created under this programme will be having their Taiwan premiere during the Kaohsiung International Film Festival. Since 2015, short films created under the Kaohsiung Shorts have been showcased in other countries such as Hong Kong, France, Japan, Korea and Vietnam.

Contemplative empath who sees wonder in the curious world. Has a habit of hiding behind books and occasionally dabbles in games, Netflix and YouTube. Is permanently attached to bubble tea.
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