Takeshi Kitano is one of the most famous faces in Japan. Actor, director, screenwriter, author, comedian and TV personality, he’s a man of many talents. Whilst violent films such as Hana-bi, Violent Cop and Sonatine made his name as a director, it is perhaps more considered outings like Dolls and Kikujiro where he excels. Scene at the Sea slots comfortably into the latter category and is without doubt his best film.
Shigeru (Claude Maki) is a refuge collector. One day he finds a broken surfboard by the side of the road, repairs it, and starts to go surfing. He is accompanied and watched by fellow deaf-mute Takano, his girlfriend (Hiroko Ôshima). He practices near a group of local surfers. They initially mock him, but as Shigeru improves they begin to help him out. However, his obsession with the sport threatens to cost him his job and girlfriend.
Scene at the Sea is a beautiful, lighthearted drama and romance. Kitano opts for a minimalist approach. The only real dialogue is superfluous. However, It allows us to in many ways to see the story from the perspective of the two leads. It’s beautifully shot; the backdrops add a touch of poetic otherworldliness, as does Joe Hisaishi lovely soundtrack, to the offbeat tale. Scene at the Sea is a warm, touching and amusing film which will stay with you.
Scene at the Sea is released by Third Window Films on Monday.