Neil Young’s Film Lounge – Since Otar Left

Published on: March 23rd, 2004

SINCE SINCE OTAR LEFT : BRIEF NOTES AFTER SECOND VIEWING

Disappointingly sparse attendance for this Monday-night show. Not surprising, given extent to which the influential broadsheets under-sold the picture, highlighting instead the more austerely arthouse Uzak. But Since Otar LeftOtar had conspicuously strong effect on those present. At the finish, three couples sat till the end of the credits, snuffling in each others’ arms. Suspect at least one of them was Georgian: pointed at the screen when certain oddball downtown vistas appeared.

Back home, stumbled across Danny Peary’s Guide for the Film Fanatic review of Tokyo Story (dir. Yasujiro Ozu):

Film deals with the transiency of life, the need to care about people when they are still alive, the city’s corrosive influence on human qualities, loneliness, the disappointment parents feel toward their adult children (as well as the difficulty children have in meeting their parents’ standards of success), and how parents avoid heartbreak by eventually concluding that their children have turned out better than most. There are lovely performances, family relationships that are universal, moments to treasure. There are many times when you feel choked up. […] By all means, see this with your children!

Not sure about “the city’s corrosive influence” part, but the rest of it fits Since Otar Left pretty well. Peary calls Tokyo Story a “masterpiece”. Does Otar fit that description also? One or two longueurs around the mid-section… But the final act – which, on second viewing, confirms Otar’s ‘American’ fate as an “agreed fiction” between the women – is something special: moving and memorable.

1st July, 2004
(seen 28th June : Tyneside Cinema : public show)

original rating : 8
click here for original review

click here for a full list of reviewed films from the Troms International Film Festival 2004

by Neil Young