‘Ice Cream and the Sound of Raindrops’ is Realism and Sincerity At Its Finest
The story centres on a director, who is pushing the cast of actors in rehearsal of a small town production of the British play “Morning” by Simon Stephens. The director pushes the actors to put as much as they can into the role. As such, the lines between the characters’ real dramas and the actors is blurred.
Director: Daigo Matsui
Cast: Kokoro Morita, Reiko Tanaka, Yuzu Aoki
Runtime: 74 minutes
With the COVID-19 outbreak throwing pretty much every industry into disarray, the We Are One: A Global Film Festival was a wonderful reminder of how the film industry’s strength lies in its community.
We Are One ran from 29 May to 7 June on YouTube, to celebrate and provide support for the COVID-19 efforts. The festival featured a wide variety of films from all over the world. Among the few that I was able to watch, Ice Cream and the Sound of Raindrops アイスと雨音 was the most memorable.
Directed by Daigo Matsui, the film follows an ensemble of characters as they prepare for the opening of their stage play. Despite all the preparation that they had put for the play, it’s revealed that it would have to be cancelled because of poor ticket sales.
Now this sounds like a pretty straightforward plot, and in a way it is, but Matsui completely took my breath away with the technical expertise and remarkable emotion that his film communicates.
Ice Cream and the Sound of Raindrops takes place in one single shot, which is not only technically impressive, but also imparts the film with a powerful realism and intimacy. It’s as if we’re right there with them, experiencing the same things that they are. This sense of authenticity is my favourite aspect of theatre, as we can sometimes be aware with films that we’re watching a fictional world because of the editing, no matter how good it is.
Yet, Matsui conveys the unique realism of stage performances to his film. This is perhaps why I became even more invested in the film’s plot than if the film was edited conventionally – I was completely immersed.
Now, the plot itself may not sound that extraordinary, but you’re hooked in by Matsui’s sitting directorial style. On top of that, the characters’ performances are superb. One of the protagonists, Kokoro (Kokoro Morita), in particular, is remarkable. She is completely immersed in her role, and communicates such emotion that it’s difficult not to be moved by her.
You may have noticed that the character and actress share the same name, and I was a bit puzzled when I first found this out. This is the same for all of the characters. And as you watch the film, you will often find yourself wondering where the line between reality and fiction is drawn. The ‘meta-ness’ of this film is just astounding. This takes the realism of the film even further. We’re left questioning where the performance starts and stops.
The film is truly magnificent, with the union of multiple narrative worlds and moments of musical slam-poetry that metaphorically narrates the characters’ internal psyche. From feelings of loneliness, inadequacy and doubt, Matsui uses these unique techniques to pierce through our own experiences of growing up.
Watching Ice Cream and the Sound of Raindrops is such an incredible experience. It gave me a much needed renewed sense of hope and faith, especially with all the difficult events of late.
Ice Cream and the Sound of Raindrops realistically reveals the highs and lows in our contemporary world, where disillusionment and disappointment is all too common. Matsui is unflinching in revealing that the world will try and knock us down.
There’s one line from the slam-poetry segment that is particularly striking – “dreams come, but don’t come true”. Yet, Ice Cream and the Sound of Raindrops resists gratuitous cynicism by also showing that despite all the challenges, we have to take control over our lives for “we are the cosmos made conscious”.