22 April 2011

[film] Laundry (ランドリー) (2002)

Can you imagine how long 1 year is? 1 year alone. I guess not.

Today I write about one of my favourite films ever. It's called Laundry and was made in 2002. It featured one of the most promising actors at that time, Kubozuka Yosuke . He became big when he played in "Great Teacher Onizuka" from 1998. Afterwards he acted in great movies like "Go" from (2001) and "Ping Pong" (2002). He also played in "Long Love Letter" a really popular tv drama. He was a big star in the early years of the new century. He, however couldn't deal very well with it and attempted to commit suicide, as he jumped off his 9th floor apartment and fell 26 metres. He survived and tried to be a writer after that ,with however not so much success. His acting career was kind of dead as he admitted to the usage of Marijuana. He then tried to be a reggae dancehall musician with mediocre success. In recent times he focussees more on acting again, but only plays minor roles.

I could have reviewed "Go" or "Ping Pong", as well, as they are equally great, however I chose "Laundry", because it deals with a very serious topic. It's about trust and reliance.

This flick is about Teru. Simply Teru. Teru and Mizue.
Teru is brain-impaired, due to an accident when he was younger. He works at his grandma's coin laundry. The character of Teru explains every customer's characteristics at the beginning. It's striking that no customer is really normal. For me there is not really a definition for what's normal and what not anyway. In a sense everyone has a certain quirk, so no one is really normal.
What I like about this film so much is that the Director Junichi Mori focussed so much on the details. It comes off like a documentary sometimes, as the focus stays on a certain scene and view for seconds without moving. You could say that most of those cuts are Teru's vision. It's a very attentive picture. You can, for example, see how a new customer (she seems so normal) visits the laundry and the camera focusses on her calmly smoking a cigarette. She is Mizue. Mizue forgets a piece of clothes.
When Teru follows her and tries to deliver the forgotten piece of clothes those two meet each other and start to talk.
You can see that Mizue seems lonely, so she invites him in for a cup of tea (mostly to show him gratitude). Due to his mental disability he talks like a young boy. He seems naive and innocent. The boy sometimes asks the most banal and mundane questions. For example, one customer (the boxer) talks happily about how he would have knocked out his opponent and gets very excited as he explains all the little details, when suddenly Teru interrupts him and asks him "Say, are ambulances fast?".
The young boy left Mizue's place pretty soon and they didn't talk much, however it seemed she felt comfortable around him.

we are shown Mizue as she attempts to commits suicide one day. She survives.
On the day Mizue leaves, she asks Teru to come see her off. On the way to the bus station they come across a huge puddle. She tells Teru that she believes she can get her life back on track if she can jump over it.

When Teru returns to the coin laundry he notices the beautiful girl left another piece of clothes, this time blood stained. Teru in this sense is not naive, though he talks naively. He earlier noticed the taped wrist of Mizue and gave it a doubtful look. He cleans this green shirt until there is no trace of blood any more and decides to deliver it to her when the place at which the coin laundry was got on sale.
On his naive but resolute journey he meets a strange but direct guy who helps him reach his destination. After being able to deliver this piece of clothes to a lonely and lost Mizue she decides to stay with Teru. She gets the feeling Teru needs her and that he can't live alone. 

However as soon as the unorthodox couple move together with Sally (the guy Teru met - he offered Teru help whenever he needed some) the beautiful girl realises that she needs Teru more than he needs her. After Sally goes on a trip to the USA to find a buxom American wife the two have to take over Sally's business and live at his house. They are a happy couple, until Mizue's demons begin to haunt her again....

Laundry is a sweet, but well-balanced romance without all the kitsch we are used to from other romances. What I love so much about this film is its intense symbolism. As the story unfolds you can notice a lot of subtle metaphors being shown. I can't really pick a favourite scene because there are so many.
Kubozuka Yosuke plays the role of Teru so well. There is a lot of irony, but also lots of emotions on his side. Koyuki who plays Mizue, gives her character a lot of depth and makes her really special. Also all the other characters are kind of special. If you love this flick as much as I do, you will be able to remember most characters in the film as they are so significant in the way they live and the way they act and behave.

The soundtrack (as you can hear above) is very melodic and calm. The music is rather easy listening and doesn't expect too much from the viewer which adds perfectly to the cinematographic of Junichi Mori.
He managed to deliver a lot of messages with this film.
You can say that there is a bit of Teru and Mizue in all of us. Especially when it comes to love and our daily life. However, with that being said, Laundry is a very uplifting motion picture and experiencing it made my life richer. It touched me a lot.
I hope you felt or will feel the same after seeing it. 

So long! :)


  1. I watched it (twice). I loved it. I'm a Mizue.

  2. It's for comments like this that give me power to continue writing about what I love so much. I don't need many comments, sometimes I don't need any, but for those deep ones I'm really grateful.
    Merci beaucoup!