Akiko travels to Vladivostok Russia to meet Matsunaga who she first met in Tokyo and is unable to forget. Even though Akiko meets Matsunaga again, Matsunaga does not remember her. Matsunaga... See full summary »
Mizuki's husband (Yusuke) drowned at sea three years ago. When he suddenly comes back home, she is not that surprised. Instead, Mizuki is wondering what took him so long. She agrees to let Yusuke take her on a journey.
Takakura is a former detective. He receives a request from his ex-colleague, Nogami, to examine a missing family case that occurred 6 years earlier. Takakura follows Saki's memory. She is ... See full summary »
At some point beating and ravaging others becomes a routine pastime when two kids go on a rampage. Taira picks his target of men and goes for broke, while Kitahara puts down his camera long... See full summary »
The married Bongwan leaves home in the dark morning and sets off to work. The memories of the woman who left weigh down on him. That day Bongwan's wife finds a love note, bursts into the office, and mistakes Areum for the woman who left.
Lung, a former member of the national Little League team and now operator of an old-style fabric business, is never able to shake a longing for his past glory. One day, he runs into a forme... See full summary »
Reiko, a prize-winning writer, moves to a quiet isolated house to finish up her new novel. One night she sees the man next door transporting an object wrapped in cloth. She finds out he is ... See full summary »
Daguerreotype (The Woman in the Silver Plate) is a French-language film by a Japanese moviemaster, Kiyoshi Kurosawa. A young man takes a job as an assistant to an old-fashioned photographer. The photographer has fully abandoned all media beyond daguerrotypes, an 1800s technique of capturing images on silver plates. He keeps taking life-sized still photographs of his daughter, increasing the exposure time more and more, to the point where she has to stand still for hours on end for his camera to capture her. His obsession is inexplicable, and soon the daughter and assistant try to get away from the father's warped world and pursue their less deranged futures.
The atmosphere of the film is enticing, to say the least. It has a breath of old fashion, beyond just the primitive photographic techniques around which the plot revolves. The settings, the shots used, the manner of acting, somehow both subdued and overdone, all channeled old cinema in a pleasant, tranquil way. It helped transport me to a different world, where I almost forgot I was watching a movie.
But the atmosphere is the only constant in this movie. The rest of it is confused, and meanders between several different plot directions without rearing any of them to the point of interesting. Not to mention that it doesn't manage to make them consistent with each other. It seems that the beings captured in the plates of the daguerrotypes exist with no purpose, and the movie just plays out melodrama around them. The plot points are sadly soap opera-like, basic (trying to force someone to sell their valuable property for a big project when they don't want to, a daughter that wants to pursue her dreams outside of home while her father doesn't want her to leave, etc). I wish the interesting concept of saving living beings into metallic photographs was part of a more engaging, more inventive script.
I do like the duality between the two men, assistant and photographer, all the similarities and differences between them and how they pan out in terms of the ghostly photographs. An interesting mirror. But neither character was particularly likable, so their fates did not feel as impactful as they should have.
With all its 'negatives', Daguerreotype is still a stunning piece of cinema by a director that treats film as art. It just fails to entertain or to leave a lasting imprint.
13 of 17 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?