Banka Northern Elegy

“It’s a psychologically turbulent tale, of a young woman, Reiko, in her early 20s, who has lived with an elbow deformity that means she essentially just uses her right arm. She’s grown up with a cynical, forthright view of the world, but also doesn’t care about the consequences of her actions. When she meets a middle-aged man, Katsuragi, after his dog bites her, she sets out to win him, not caring about his marriage which, she finds out, is to a woman who has been unfaithful with a toyboy. She and Katsuragi do begin an affair, but then she starts to intrude into his wife’s life and comes to befriend her when the wife helps her recover from pneumonia, not knowing who she was.

The flashback structure which unfolds, and the melancholy score, tell us this isn’t going to end up rosy. What is unexpected is the callousness of its heroine. She sees no problem in befriending a woman whose husband she’s sleeping with and feels no remorse when the truth becomes known. Yet it’s more disturbing still, in that Reiko begins to call Mrs. Katsuragi, mother, as if to replace her own deceased mother, thus bringing an incestuous angle into proceedings with her lover thus becoming a surrogate father. And if that is not disconcerting enough, there’s Reiko’s almost pleading for punishment and scolding that verges on masochism.”
EXCERPT FROM: Allan Fish at Wonders In The Dark.

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