Film

Watched The Last 10 Years

Ms. Phenomenal

Created on
Day
75/100
Reading Time
3 mins
Word Count
900 approx.

Hello everyone. I watched another Japanese film, The Last 10 Years 余命10年 in the cinema. This time around, it was a romance story based on real life characters. The visuals looked nice enough, while the soundtrack was what drew me in. It has its moments, and I want to share something about it here.

Minor spoilers ahead.

I’ve only talk about stuff that you may have seen in trailers.

You can tell from the film’s title that it was a sad story. At the beginning of the movie, it opens with a beautiful piece of music, which was composed by RADWIMPS. It suits the theme very well. You can watch the official trailer here.

The story was nice overall, but it does feel a bit cliche and somewhat predictable. To be fair, it was a romance story that feels authentic, and many will find it relatable. I was not aware of how popular this film was when I decided to go watch it. This film somehow reminds me of another Japanese movie, Crying Out Love in the Center of the World 世界の中心で、愛をさけぶ (2004). It was a long time ago when I saw it in the cinema. After all these years, it remains one of the classics that is not easy to surpass.

Matsuri sitting on a wheelchair while she’s holding a DV camera filming the view around her
Matsuri literally means “jasmine” in English

Our protagonist, Matsuri 茉莉, who is a young girl and she has an incurable disease. She was told by the doctor that she had only 10 years to live. Later, she fell in love with a young man, Kazuto 和人, she met at a classmate’s gathering. The story revolves around the pair, two of their friends, and her family. Matsuri 茉莉 always carries a DV camera with her to film the people she’s with. Apparently, she does have a smartphone, and I think she has been using the DV camera for nostalgia reasons. A few years passed, and her sickness was getting worse and that’s where the story becomes emotional.

However, I was not sure about Matsuri’s attitude; she always thought of the worst that could happen to her. She just dwelled on it a bit too hard and kept counting how many days she had left. This was a situation of “the glass half full”. She has forgotten she still has enough time to live. But I admit it’s easier said than done. I also want to tell her, her memories will be of the highest quality available than in any video recordings, and will last forever.

In my opinion, the bond between our main characters was not quite there. It seems to me it lacks depth as compared to The Wandering Moon 流浪の月 where it was a emotional roller coaster. And I honestly think Matsuri was fortunate enough to have true friends and a very supportive family.

Anyway, this movie was very popular in Japan and China because of its story arc. We’ve seen something similar before, but it works most of the time. And I don’t know why the cinemas in my area are always late to the party. Also, I sometimes like the soundtrack of a film more than the story itself.

Some sidenotes, I was intrigued by a scene where Matsuri using a text editor, starts to write her novel and types text vertically. Unlike languages such as English, CJK text can be written in vertical format, reading direction from right to left, and from top to bottom. I couldn’t stop myself from experimenting with text orientation in East Asian text.

For your information.

Content below not relevant to the film. For those who are interested in CJK languages please read on.

As I recall, CJK vertical text orientation is supported quite well in InDesign and illustrator. However, in Figma, it is obviously not a thing yet. That being said, I will have to see if there’s a workaround.

After some testing, I can confirm that it’s not a good idea to typeset CJK in vertical because you’ll need to adjust each rows of text line by line manually without “text thread”. At least for now, your best option for typesetting CJK languages is using InDesign, unfortunately.

Vertical orientation of Japanese text with grid overlay
Typeset in Noto Serif JP with four different font sizes

I created this little piece of design exploring text orientation in Figma. It looks nothing special, but I guess this is a learning process. Originally, I wanted to skip the use of Arabic numbers and replace them with numbers written in Japanese. But you know, I didn’t want to go that far. I also admit that it won’t win any awards.

I discoverd an option named Vertical Alternative in Figma for which I applied the setting to the Japanese text. It’s because the punctuation alignment/direction in vertical orientation should appear to be at the top right corner of the fullwidth character and some of them need to rotate by 90 degree. As you can see, there are some information written in Roman characters such as arabic numbers mixed with Japanese text.

I might want to experiment writing-mode and text-orientation in CSS someday.

My Afterthought

A classic love story that never gets old. This is somewhat a formula for Asian romance films. But it works.

Watched in Cinema

Rating (Stars)
2.5/5
Verdict
Soft
Director
Michihito Fujii 藤井(Fujii) 道人(Michihito)
Starring
Nana Komatsu 小松(Komatsu) 菜奈(Nana), Kentaro Sakaguchi 坂口(Sakaguchi) 健太郎 (Kentaro)
Genres
Drama
Release Date
Oct 2022

This is #Day75 of #100DaysToOffload.