Still from About the Pink Sky
About The PInk Sky
Sundance Film Festival
Director: Keiichi Kobayashi
Part of the World Dramatic Competition at Sundance, About The Pink Sky was perhaps one of the most surprising films I experienced at the film festival. The story begins when a high-school girl, Izumi (Ai Ikeda), finds a wallet on the ground filled with 300,000 yen (about $4,000) in cash. As she argues with herself on what to do with her find, she walks to the address on the ID inside and realizes that the wallet belongs to a teenage boy whose wealthy father is involved in some shady business. Her conscience somewhat clear, she loans a friend a big chunk of the cash to help save his printing business. However, once her two best friends find out about the wallet, and see it belongs to a "cute" teenage boy, they force Izumi to return it. Noticing the missing cash, Sato (Tsubasa Takayama) demands that Izumi repay him by putting together a newspaper of articles with only good news for his hospitalized friend. Izumi and her friends agree to this, and spend their entire fall break working on the newspaper. When things begin to fall apart, however, Izumi decides to pay Sato's friend a visit at the hospital, and finds out he's been hiding a few secrets.
The story is undoubtedly a unique one, as is the execution. Filmed in black and white and completely void of a musical soundtrack, About The PInk Sky might seem to deceive with its title, but upon completion of the film, I found that it was a conscientious and poetic decision. It's the type of film that requires attention to detail and invites analyzation and interpretation. The film is written from the perspective of a teenager, and though it is in Japanese and retains Japanese social customs, I felt that it translated well to someone like me who has spent all of their life in Western society. The truth is, that the film is so successful in its depiction of teenage mannerisms, at times I felt annoyed and awkward. These attributes are exaggerated even more as every sound––foot stomp, shout, crumpled newspaper, etc.––rings out over the silence, and every action is clear-cut, un-muddled by color. The film is slightly jarring in this way, and since the first half of the movie contains a lot of teenage bickering and grabbing, it became a little difficult to watch.
Any of its pitfalls are completely redeemed by the last half, though. Ikeda's performance tightens as her character becomes more complex along with the storyline, and her two goofy friends move into the background. And the finale … it ties everything together beautifully. I recommend this film simply for that last 20 minutes of dialogue.