The Lowlife / Saitei / 最低。(2017) - Japan
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
What is so beautiful about veteran “Pink” Director Takahisa Zeze latest film “The Lowlife” is not so much the content of attraction that will undoubtedly sell tickets and draw a sizeable audience, but the efforts to drill well into the characters, the mothers, the daughters and the wives. They are all humans, no matter what version of commodity and opinions that society seem to have of adult movies actresses.
It also provides a stunning return to the big screen in Ayano Moriguchi (last starring role in 2008) whose simply provides the film with a deep character that shows the inner turmoil of a neglected housewife whose ambitions of wanting to start a family seems to be at loggerhead with her quiet husband. The film never dwells into any controversial details of the industry, but rather plays like a real documentary style of story telling and the effect is both affecting and thoroughly engaging to watch.
Kokone Sasaki plays the up and rising adult actress that simply unhappy with her own life situation, but embraces the “work” that is making her feel like herself once again. We see a girl that ran away from home, sad about her appearances as she struggles to understand the relationship between her mother and sister. There is a nice little scene where she confronts her mother of her very existence and credos for the director for pulling it off as one of those memorable scenes. Aina Yamada plays the young high school student who just cannot come to terms as to why her single mother once threw her body into the industry. Perhaps under-explored in terms of the relationship between Yamada and her mum (played naturally by Makiko Watanabe).
All in all, “The Lowlife” is precisely the kind of film that the genre should have been approaching rather than focusing attention of the notorious industry, we see human characters facing life’s struggles and difficulties just like the rest of us. We all know and aware of the fact that we shouldn’t judge, but it’s inherent human nature that we show a disregard for those that we fail to understand, the context and the situation. This is a well acted film with good direction and a story strong enough to hold the two hours duration.
I rated it 8/10
Dir: Takahisa Zeze; Starring: Ayano Moriguchi, Kokone Sasaki, Aina Yamada, Saki Takaoka, Makiko Watanabe