DVD Review: Instant Swamp (Insutanto Numa) – A Film By Miki Satoshi
‘Instantly’ likeable and endearing!
Haname Jinchoge (Kumiko Aso) is tired with her life as day in day out it is all the same old thing for her of getting up in the morning when the cock crows, having a cup of cocoa and going to work, then doing it all again the next morning. She wants a life of her own choosing, but she cannot due to her demanding work schedule, and during the running narrative she gives at the beginning also cannot rise above the others at the company. As the movie shows, Haname is lively and energetic; she loves to arm-wrestle her mother in the morning, and also goes through her daily battles through life by quickly moving through her tasks almost at super speed, also proving she is a mass of contradictions.
Once the comical introduction is out of the way, the truth begins to come out. Her life is not that bad at all. The reality of her job is that she is the chief of a publishing company, and she is in charge of coming up with the features in the magazine. As sales are at an all time low, she wants to impress the boss by suggesting something that will inspire him to keep the magazine going, but he is annoyed even that it is not making any money.
While working at the company, Haname hears a lot of talk on spirituality. One co-worker mentions his horoscope is correct, and she berates him for saying he believes in such things at his age, while someone else in the boardroom wants to run an article on ghosts. In fact it is a theme that runs through the entire movie where she does not believe in the supernatural or things that can be seen as good or bad luck. Their boss, in turn decides to run a report on a local ‘ghost spot’ but the spot ends up being a haunted swamp and Haname doesn’t take it seriously enough for it to work. After this, the magazine is disbanded, and the workers go their separate ways.
Sen Ichinose (Eri Fuse) gives Haname a keepsake saying it will bring her good luck, but she still dismisses it as nonsense. The film gives the impression that every wrong decision Haname makes is based on her not believing in ghosts, horoscopes or lucky cats. Haname has a good relationship with her mother, but when her father left her when she was young, she thought that was the start of the bad luck that followed her wherever she went. There are a few comical sequences, one at the beginning, and another later, where Haname is throwing out all the things her father gave her. She dislikes him for leaving his mother for another woman, one who was rich so he could live an easier life. It is a comical sight watching her throw a stuffed monkey, a birthday cake complete with lit candles, a jewellery box and a huge cat talisman into a swamp. She believes the cat cursed her as it sank into the mud, but she only says that as a joke – while the reality is that throwing the cat away was a big mistake as far as her luck goes.
Haname has a long, lost love she thinks about, ambitions to be the boss of her own magazine empire, and a letter she finds which changes her whole outlook on life. While everyone around her believes in fate, and luck, even her mother, she has to realise that all that has happened so far is due to her lack of faith in the supernatural.
Instant Swamp is different in every way, kooky, fun and fast paced – it’s also ‘instantly’ likeable and endearing.
Label: Third Window Films
Release date: May 24th, 2010
Running time: 120 mins
Director: Miki Satoshi
Stars: Kumiko Aso, Ryo Kase, Morio Kazama, Eri Fuse, Kankuro Kudo
Sandie has a keen interest in Anime, Manga and all things Japanese. Her interests other than reviewing are Japanese Language, dress and culture, liking Harajuku Girls, Gothic Lolita, folding some neat Origami, drawing her own Manga characters, writing her own Manga stories and everything in between.