SGIFF Review: Forma by Ayumi Sakamoto

Winning the Japanese Cinema Splash award and the FIPRESCI Prize, this film by director Ayumi Sakamoto caught the attention at the Tokyo and Berlin International Film Festivals. Finally, Forma had a sold out screening at the National Museum of Singapore as part of the Singapore International Film Festival 2014 and SINdie is glad to be part of the experience.

Forma illustrates a complicated friendship between former classmates Ayako and Yukari. As their past keeps unraveling throughout the film, after Ayako offers Yukari a job with better prospects, the pair will finally confront each other about the skeleton in the cupboard in a 24-minutes static shot that reveals and horrifies as much as it will break viewers’ hearts.

The one quality that really made this film stand out would be how intricately weaved the entire plot is. Even though it may sound simple and straightforward enough, the synopsis is unable to do justice to the nuances and moments captured on the film.

It keeps one paying attention to every single action, dialogue and scene just to keep up with the increasing tension and understand the dynamics between the various characters.

Even though the film goes at an extremely slow pace with minimal distractions and relies heavily on heavy dialogue and static long takes, the carefully crafted storyline and simple yet impactful visuals will keep the viewer’s attention from straying.

Initially, it was slightly uncomfortable to watch since there was very little clues given as to what to expect and it does not follow the conventional structure of a film: introduction, trouble starts brewing, climax and a resolution. But the unconventional nature of it is precisely what makes this film worth watching and when the climax finally played out with all questions slowly answered one by one, it was very rewarding.

Review By Teo Dawn

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