One Cut in the Life 2020 cover photo

Featured in JFFH (Japanese Film Fest Hamburg), One Cut in the Life is a poignant drama written, produced, and directed by Shintaro Hachi- a relatively unknown, up-and-coming filmmaker. He stated, “I would like to show my own determination regarding violent events of all sizes that I encounter in my daily life, and with the goal of creating and nurturing them as one work”. This piqued my intrigue and I wanted to view his work for myself.

What is it?

After an incident, Yuka Minato received a facial injury. Years later, she reunites with two other survivors, Rintaro Goto and Hayashi Taro. The group reconnects by sharing the trauma left in each other’s hearts. However, Hideki Mori, a freelance writer who searches for the truth of the case, suddenly arrives to interview the friends about the case three years ago. Yuka and Hayashi have a secret about the incident that only they know.

One Cut in the Life Film Poster

What Worked

Shintaro Hachi accomplishes a wonderful portrayal of trauma and strikes up a strong level of empathy for his characters as they struggle to lead a normal existence after a life-changing event. Additionally effective are the overall desaturated tone and powerful, wide angle cinematography that tends to linger on a scene in silence, enforcing the emotion of what has transpired.

Incredibly strong performances from Rio Konno (Yuka) and Yuto Kobayashi (Rintaro) drive the production. The relatively unknown cast’s depiction of how the upheaval of a situation can, and will, follow into the future is compelling from beginning to end.

Implementing a limited use of the soundtrack throughout, the film’s musical application is potent yet subtle in its delivery and characterizes scenes considerably. Though, the lack of music is the more moving approach taken, much to the film’s benefit.

One Cut in the Life During the Incident

What Didn’t Work

Beginning at a break-neck speed, One Cut in the Life throws the viewer in the midst of an ongoing shooting spree. However, after this scene, the movie soon loses momentum and doesn’t seem to deviate from the decreased pace for the remainder of its run time. As the beginning is so kinetic, the shift in progression is noticeable. Nevertheless, the film’s scenes all have purpose and none feel unnecessarily extended. By only having a runtime of 76 minutes, the film is a shorter watch than expected.

Where Can I Find It?

Viewings of One Cut in the Life will be accessible online during JFFH. Running from August 18th to September 1st, tickets will be available via their website.

One Cut in the Life Being Interviewed

Overall thoughts

Since little information about the film exists online, going into it blind may have been detrimental. Opening so explosively, the film set a level not upheld by its remainder. If I was more attuned to the film’s focus, it would have improved my enjoyment.

In spite of this, the movie is still enjoyable. Shooting sprees are exceedingly difficult to portray in our current climate. The director objectively succeeded in handling the tumultuous topic. With the incident not being glamorized in any way, its perpetrators lacked any redemption through justification. Instead, it chose to focus on its victims and their struggle with trauma. One Cut in the Life deserves the recognition it is beginning to receive. Moreover, it has won several awards at worldwide film festivals. As such, I’m interested in what is next for the young director, having proven his ability to project his vision on the screen so efficiently.  I have high hopes for the talented filmmaker.

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