In a mesmerizing journey through music and time, Japanese singer Aina the End leads the cast in director Shunji Iwai's newest creation, "Kyrie." This compelling drama explores the aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan's Honshu island.
Based on Iwai's own novel, "Kyrie" delves into the life of a traumatized musician, offering a platform for Aina's distinctive husky vocals. However, the film's unconventional chronology may leave viewers perplexed. One striking feature of "Kyrie" is Aina's dual role.
She portrays two characters, both named Kyrie, with distinct timelines. The first Kyrie, a young woman in her twenties, loses her voice and communicates solely through song. The second Kyrie, her older sister, appears in extended flashbacks set in 2011.
This intricate narrative is made even more complex by the film's jumbled structure. Adding to the challenge, the theatrical release of "Kyrie" is significantly shorter than its festival version, omitting critical backstory.
The film's primary emotional outlet, the songs, are presented in fragments to fit the commercial runtime.
Kyrie's Origins: A 2011 Tragedy
The story begins in 2011, in the suburbs of Osaka, following the 3/11 disaster. A young girl named Luca, who cannot speak, is discovered roaming the countryside and is nicknamed "Peep." Ms.
Fumi, portrayed by Haru Kuroki, takes an interest in Luca's plight. Cut to present-day Tokyo, where Luca, now Kyrie (played by Aina), lives on the streets, busking for sustenance. A chance encounter with an old school friend, Ikko (played by Suzu Hirose), leads to a unique partnership.
Despite her eccentricities and questionable companions, Ikko becomes Kyrie's manager, introducing her music to influential figures in the industry. The film gracefully weaves between three timelines: the ill-fated romance of the older Kyrie and her boyfriend Natsuhiko (Hokuto Matsumura) before the Tohoku disaster, the high-school days of Ikko and young Kyrie in 2018, and Kyrie's journey as a certified street performer in 2023.
While "Kyrie" boasts a talented supporting cast, they have limited opportunities to shine. In the end, the film leaves viewers disoriented and unsatisfied with its fragmented narrative. "Kyrie" is a testament to Aina the End's musical prowess and Iwai's storytelling skills. However, its unconventional structure may challenge some viewers, making it a unique cinematic experience.