Sue, Mai and Sawa

“A heartwarming drama based on Miri Masuda’s comic strip series, Sue, Mai & Sawa: Righting the Girl Ship offers a warm and tender depiction of the lives of three women, former colleagues whose friendship has endured over the course of 10 years. Now in their thirties, the three friends each harbor anxieties about their future, their professional paths, their love lives, and their family ties.”

(Text from the Cinémathèque website)


WARNING: May contains trace of spoilers! People allergic to the discussion of any plot’s elements before seeing a movie are strongly advised to take the necessary precautions for their safety and should avoid reading further.

This movie is based on a josei yonkoma (4-panel comic strip aimed at an adult female readership) by Miri Masuda. This style of comic is very popular in Japan. Sū-chan “follows the daily lives of women who deal with their anxieties regarding love and work”. It is published by Gentosha and “has sold over 280,000 copies” (up to March 2013). Four volumes have been released between April 2006 and November 2012 (the first volume came out in paperback in August 2009; a preview of the first six pages is available online — opposite: pp. 4-5). (Sources: ANN, Wikipedia Ja)

The movie adaptation, titled Sue, Mai & Sawa: Righting the Girl Ship, is a typical Japanese feel-good movie. However, despite the light tone, it seriously tackles the anxieties of Japanese single women. It tells the story of three women in their thirties who find themselves questioning their life situation and how they more or less succeed to find happiness.

Yoshiko Morimoto, nicknamed Sue-chan, is 34-year-old and works in a coffee shop where she can put to use her talent for cooking. She has feeling for the manager, but her hesitation prompts a younger, more aggressive colleague to secure his love before she can do anything. However, the owner ends up offering her the manager position. She’s insecure at first and makes mistake, but she slowly grows into the responsibility. She has good wisdom and is a great help to confort and give advise to her friends.

Maiko Okamura, nicknamed Mai-chan, is a 34-year-old office lady working in the sales department of an OA manufacturing company. She is stressed by the pressure at work and frustrated with the fact that her affair with a married man is going nowhere. When her dermatologist suggests that she should give up on some of her life’s problems, she decides to dump her boyfriend and registers with a marriage agency. One year later, she is married and pregnant. However, she worries that motherhood would change her, but finally learns to say goodbye to the woman she was and accepts whom she has become.

Sawako Hayashi, nicknamed Sawa-san, is a 39-year-old web designer. She helps her mother take care of the grandmother who’s bedridden and suffers from dementia. She worries that if she ever marry she would leave her mother to do the care-giving by herself. She meet by chance a former classmate and starts going out with him, but when he appears more concerned with having a descendance and requests a “fertility certificate”, she gets angry and dumps him. She comes to term with having to take care of her grandmother.

The movie feels a little like a sketch comedy in the beginning, but it quickly gets structured into a more uniform storytelling. It might have been intentional, in order to allude to the original 4-panel format which is, by definition, a series of short stories ending with a punch. Food is also a recurring theme in the movie (and a theme shared by all three movies screened at the festival this year) as the friends always gathered around a meal to discuss their problems. But since Ozu it seems that food and meals has been a frequent theme in Japanese movies.

All in all, Sue, Mai & Sawa is an interesting movie that provide some reflection about life and a good entertainment.

Sue, Mai & Sawa: Righting the Girl Ship (すーちゃん まいちゃん さわ子さん / Sû chan Mai chan Sawako san). Japan, 2013, 106 min.; Dir.: Osamu Minorikawa; Scr.: Sachiko Tanaka (based on the 4-koma by Miri Masuda); Phot.: Gen Kobayashi; Prod.: Yoshitaka Takeda; Cast: Yôko Maki, Shinobu Terajima, Kou Shibasaki, Shota Sometani, Arata Iura, Hana Kino, Gin Pun Chou, Akiko Kazami, Megumi Sato, Mio Uema, Aoi Yoshikura, Ai Takabe.

Film screened at the 33rd Japanese Film Festival of Montreal on October 29th, 2016 (Cinémathèque Québécoise, 15h00 – the small theatre was full). This free event is organized each year by the Japan Foundation (Toronto) and the Consulate General of Japan.

For more information you can visit the following websites:

Sue, Mai & Sawa © 2012 「Sue, Mai & Sawa」Production Committee.

The trailer is avaialble on Youtube:


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Toulouse-Lautrec: Affiche la Belle Époque

Toulouse-Lautrec: Affiche la Belle Époque

Mercredi après le travail je me suis dépêché d’aller visiter l’exposition sur les affiches de Toulouse-Lautrec au Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal qui se termine dimanche.

“Cette exposition présente une collection particulière d’exception qui comprend plus de quatre-vingt-dix estampes et affiches, couvrant presque toute la période de la production lithographique de Toulouse-Lautrec, de 1891 (…) à 1899.”

Même si on y retrouve que les affiches de Toulouse-Lautrec (pas de peintures), c’est tout de même très intéressant. Lautrec était vraiment un illustrateur de talent. Toutefois, c’est une petite exposition qui ne comprend que quelques salles et j’en ai donc fait le tour assez rapidement (en un peu plus d’une heure). Comme à mon habitude, j’ai photographié les pièces de l’exposition qui m’interpellaient le plus afin de garder un petit souvenir de ma visite.

Voici un bref diaporama des mes photos que j’ai converti en video sur Vimeo:


Voir aussi mon album photo sur Flickr (avec titres et détails des affiches):

Toulouse-Lautrec
(iPhone 6s, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, 2016-10-26)
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Weekly notable news (W42)

Not much happened this week. Same old, same old, as we say. Some aberrations at work keep exasperating me (but there’s only 552 more weeks to endure). On the way back from a doctor’s appointment, my wife and I walked through the mountain to admire the colours of fall. It was superb and I wonder why we don’t do this kind of walk more often. We’ve also spent time watching more of the American presidential insanities, two excellent animated features (Miss Hokusai and Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha Movie 1: The Red Desert! It’s Beautiful) as well as a new episode of Poldark. For my part, I’ve also started a promising new series (Westworld) and watched the season finale of Halt and Catch Fire. And I probably did a zillion other things (like updating my anime & manga bibliography) that I can’t even remember. But, does it really matter?

However, I do remember that I managed to find some time to stay acquainted with the affairs of the world. I therefore share with you a few notable news & links that I came across lately (in no particular order):

Funnies


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Nouvelle bibliothèque dans Villeray

Le 4 octobre dernier, le conseil d’arrondissement de Villeray/Saint-Michel/Parc-Extension (VSP), s’est réuni pour une réunion extraordinaire afin d’adopter un budget de $57,707,800 pour 2017.

En utilisant le surplus libre disponible ($1,25M), l’arrondissement dit pouvoir maintenir le niveau actuel de service à la population sans augmenter le fardeau fiscal au-delà du taux de l’inflation. Il affirme même avoir réduit à la baisse le taux de la taxe locale d’arrondissement (de $0,0006 par $100 d’évaluation foncière).

Si l’on consulte la présentation budgétaire, on constate que l’arrondissement entend donner priorité à la circulation en toute sécurité, au développement durable, soutien au développement économique local de même que le maintien et la bonification des services offerts en culture, sports, loisirs, parcs et développement social.

$24,414,100 du budjet (42.3%) est d’ailleurs consacré à la culture, sports, loisirs, parcs et développement social, incluant $7,098,900 (12.3%) spécifiquement pour la culture et les bibliothèques.

Toutefois, le Journal de St-Michel (du mercredi 12 octobre 2016, p. 3 — malheureusement il n’y plus de page web où je pourrais vous référer) ajoute que selon le programme triennal d’immobilisation (PTI) 2017-1019 adopté le 6 septembre dernier, l’arrondissement investira $20.943M dans l’amélioration de ses installations et infrastructures, et que la ville-centre y investira plus de $90M, incluant $30M pour la réalisation de la nouvelle bibliothèque de Villeray et la mise aux normes des deux glaces de l’aréna de Saint-Michel.

Le remplacement de la bibliothèque Le Prévost par une bibliothèque plus grande et plus moderne avait déjà été annoncé en septembre 2013 (Tournesol vol. 6 #2, Journal Métro, Plateau Arts et Culture, Bibliothèques Montréal). En effet, dans le cadre du Programme de rénovation, d’aménagement et de construction des bibliothèques publiques de Montréal (RAC), la bibliothèque Le Prévost — renommée bibliothèque de Villeray — déménagera dans un tout nouvel immeuble de près de 3000 mètres carrés qui sera construit sur un terrain adjacent au Patro Le Prévost, sur l’avenue Christophe-Colomb. Le ministère de la Culture et la Ville de Montréal y investiront $14,5M et l’arrondissement y consacrera $4,2M.

Il semble donc que cette nouvelle bibliothèque de Villeray deviendra réalité dans les trois prochaines années.

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