Notable Cast: Gaku Imamura, Hirobumi Watanabe
Continuing in the beautiful black and white cinematography that I believe Watanabe will do the entirety of his career with, which I am okay with 100 percent, Poolsideman blends the slow moving, observational elements of 7 Days and injects it with the black humor of And the Mudship Sails Away..., creating a film that seems to work to the strengths of the filmmaker, and is his best work thus far in my mind, though I put 7 Days right alongside it. Let me explain...
Gaku Imamura makes his acting debut as a man working at an inside pool building, in a city north of Tokyo, that seems to avoid all the chaos plaguing the rest of the world. This poolside man, spends every day working here, going through his very set routine, bored out of his mind, slowly crawling through the days. The film really makes a point of showing just how tedious and dull his daily life is. 7 Days uses this same method of the mundane to showcase the realness of life and captures time in the same way that someone like Tsai Ming-liang (Stray Dogs) does so well. It is absolutely slow, yet visually captivating and ultimately rewarding. Here, we really feel for the man's turtle-paced life, desperately wanting to see him break out and move on to better things, but he, like many others, is completely trapped in his own world, though he seems to be completely unaware of how easy it would be to just... leave.
|Gaku Imamura gives a haunting performance debut!|
I believe the most memorable parts of Poolsideman are when the two are chatting in their commutes to and from work. Our lead drives, saying nothing as usual, and occasionally lighting up a cigarette, while Hirobumi's character rattles random thoughts off the top of his head, and he is a big manga and anime nerd, providing some of the funniest monologues I've ever heard, including one where he says it is impossible to communicate with younger people, especially One Piece fans. I can't remember the dialogue to a tee, but it was absolutely hilarious. Still, the main character never once speaks.
|"I am from the Dragonball generation!"|
|Yes, Watanabe's adorable grandmother has|
a brief appearance in this film as well.
Written by Josh Parmer