Hana and Alice

2004 [JAPANESE]

Action / Comedy / Drama / Romance

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 04, 2021 at 06:53 AM

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720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.21 GB
1280*714
Japanese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
2 hr 15 min
P/S 1 / 5
2.25 GB
1920*1072
Japanese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
2 hr 15 min
P/S 3 / 4

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by CountZero313 8 / 10

Japanese magic realism

Iwai's tale of friendship and love among 15-year-olds is a bitter-sweet affair, joyous and poignant in fragments. It is not a perfect film, but still imbued with enough of Iwai's visual flair and inventiveness to raise it above much of what Japan has offered up in the first decade of the 21st century.

Hana (Anne Suzuki) is inadvertently brought to Ma-kun by her best friend Alice (Yû Aoi). She utilizes an accident to convince clumsy Ma-kun (Tomohiro Kaku) that he has lost his memory and that she is the love of his life. The lie grows out of control, and sucks in the best friend. Alice, meanwhile, has her own troubles to contend with, namely an eccentric mother, disinterested father, and an acting/modeling opportunity that continually misfires.

Like Iwai's 'Love Letter', the essentials of the plot are intricately laid out, but ultimately matter less than the shot-by-shot, scene-by-scene poetry conjured up by camera, light and direction. There is one breathtaking shot in a classroom, when Astro Boy is revealed watching brazenly over a lover's tiff. The manga motif serves to underline the heightened emotions and extreme dramatics of the tale. Similar optical playfulness is employed when Hana watches Ma-kun on the train, seemingly in conversation with his girlfriend. That shot is matched later when we are optically fooled into thinking Ma-kun will kiss Alice. It is this continual ability to surprise and delight that means the 2-hour plus running time, while self-indulgent, manages not to feel too much of an imposition.

There are some wonderful set pieces to celebrate here. Alice's father making a complete mess of gifting his daughter a fountain pen is painful and hilarious. Ditto Hana's mother appearing in her undies before a shell-shocked Ma-kun. A klutzy classmate's photos of the girls in ballet tutus turn out to be magical. These scenes, stagy and contrived in the hands of a lesser mortal, are fluid, vivid and delightful when presented by Iwai.

It is testament to Iwai's genius that a host of A-listers line up for walk-on parts in this film. For example, Hirsohi Abe, used to playing leads, is practically an extra here when he shows up as the boyfriend of Alice's mum. What other living director elicits such reverence? Hana and Alice glows, quite literally. The film captures that vividness of passionate friendships and love first encountered that only the qualia of a 15-year-old knows. Ultimately, the running time is a shade too flabby to count it among Iwai's masterpieces (the plural is deliberate), but this is a subtle, complex film worthy of repeat viewing.

Reviewed by kjihwan 8 / 10

A lilting story of friendship

It may look like just another saccharine love-triangle romance, but 'Hana and Alice' is actually a deceptively tender and subtle paean to how gorgeous and sweet friendship can be. Although initially we have two high-school girls, Anne Suzuki and Aoi Yuu, squabble over a hapless senior, the film isn't really about teen crushes and jealousy. Instead, as layers of each girl's background and character are peeled away, we discover a surprising amount of depth and resonance to Hana and Alice's friendship. The ballet scene is much talked about and fawned over, but the real highlight for me was where we find out that Hana was in fact a near-autistic child, shunning the outer world from her flower house, until Alice came along and enticed her out into the world. This scene increases the emotional strength of both the film and the girls' relationship exponentially, and turns the movie from merely entertaining into truly touching.

Director Shunji Iwai once again establishes a particularly delectable mood - as only he can - and has the guts to carry it all the way. Although most of the press and public attention in the Far East focused on the freshness of Aoi Yuu, it is the former child actor Suzuki Anne who gives a performance of veritable subtlety, so nuanced and superbly mannered that you almost don't notice it until you give it a thought. She has the less flashy and more mundane role of the two, yet there isn't one moment where she's caught acting, something that sadly can't be said for Yuu. To think that Suzuki has just turned 18 - what a career she has in store for us.

Although somewhat long and dragging in places (you can only enjoy so many shots of young girls in tights dancing - no, hang on...) 'Hana and Alice' is a rare instance where one is allowed a flight of fancy without the attendant guilt, and in which friendship is explored with affection not angst. Don't let the fluffy romance tag fool you: this is a film which makes you nostalgic for those dreary days back in youth when you had your best friend walk alongside you on the way to school and didn't realize how special or fleeting it was.

Reviewed by matt-1549 10 / 10

so much more depth than one would expect

2 teenage girls who are best friends are into the same boy ... Coming from Hollywood such a movie would be shallow for sure, in the style of numerous other high school comedies. Japanese director Shunji Iwai, however, managed to make a movie out of this material which has a lot of depth, a movie that is rich of subtle, moving moments. Rather than showing a simple love story, the focus of the movie is clearly the two girls and their friendship, and how it is being put on the test. Hana and Alice are simply adoring when they quickly come up with another hilarious lie to back up each others made up stories. On the other hand, their love interest is slow and passive most of the time, it seems like he is sleepwalking at times. Unlike Hollywood movies it's a lot about the unsaid, and be prepared that not everything is explained. The film never becomes sentimental nor too heavy, because the drama is lightened up with quite a bit of humor. A very watchable movie indeed ...

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