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‘Kamata Prelude’: Four Tales of the Exploitation Women Face in Japan’s Film Industry

2 October 2020

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‘Kamata Prelude’: Four Tales of the Exploitation Women Face in Japan’s Film Industry

The #MeToo movement is finally penetrating the sexist Japanese film business if “Kamata Prelude,” a four-part omnibus produced by Urara Matsubayashi, is any indication. The closing film of this year’s Osaka Asian Film Festival, it stars Matsubayashi as a young actress struggling to gain a foothold in the industry while navigating its darker, stranger and more abusive corners.

The film, however, is more than an object lesson in female empowerment. Its lead character, Machiko (Matsubayashi), is a mix of jealousy and resilience, falsity and righteous anger. That is, flawed but sympathetic.

Also, Matsubayashi gave her four directors stylistic and thematic freedom. The result is something of a patchwork, running the gamut from magical realism to absurdist comedy, but it held my attention from beginning to end.

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Image credit: ENBU Seminar