Ringing in Their Ears was the opening film of the fourth annual Shinsedai Cinema Festival, which will be screening new Japanese film all weekend at the Revue Cinema.
The focus of the film is the real life Japanese rock band Shinsei Kamattechan. I initially had no idea that Kamattechan was an actual band, since the plot of the film itself is fictional. The film counts down towards the band’s big concert and focuses on three different storylines.
The first, and probably the most intriguing, of the storylines involves a 5 year old boy and his mother. The mother works as both a cleaner and exotic dancer and often leaves the boy alone with his laptop computer, on which the boy often watches the band’s webcasts. The boy treats the laptop as a substitute for his absentee father and is inseparable from it. However, he gets into trouble when he shares a viral video with is friends, which features a song with lyrics like “I want to die.” This results in the mother questioning the boy’s dependence on technology. I really liked how this storyline focused on both the pros and cons of our dependence on technology. That said, I do have to say that I thought that the resolution was a bit of a cop out.
The second storyline involves a teenage girl, who is a prodigy of the Japanese chess-like game shogi. She is training to play in a shogi championship and doesn’t seem all that concerned with going to University or a boy’s invite to go to the band’s concert. This storyline was much less intriguing than the story of the boy and his mother and came off more like your basic teen movie plot. That said, it did have an intriguing sideplot, involving an individual that remained locked in his room.
The third storyline involves the band itself and more specifically their manager’s negotiations with the record company. This storyline is all about the manager trying to fight the record company’s suggestions that the band change themselves to become a role model for shut-ins. I’m certain that this is a fictionalized storyline, since the record executive is very over-the-top and keeps boasting about his 30 years of experience, however this is likely a very familiar story for indie bands that move on to major labels. There was a sideplot in which the band’s leader Noko could not be contacted, however it turned out in the end to be a bit of a non-factor to the plot.
The film climaxes with performance by the band, the music of which inspires all the characters to overcome their obstacles. This section brought all of the plots together and even uses some some special effect to demonstrate the band’s effects on the individuals.
Overall, I thought that it was a decent film that demonstrated the effect this real band had on these fictional characters.
8 | LIKED IT