|3:15 a.m.||WOMAN OF WATER|
Hidenori Sugimori Japan, 2002
(Mizu no onna). Set in a rural public bathhouse, Sugimori's lush first feature strips its characters down to their elemental essences in a whimsical poem. A woman as supple as water, whose emotions cause rainstorms, meets a man with a penchant for fire, and love begins to simmer. With sensual imagery and a minimalist style, Sugimori attunes us to the fleeting moments of serenity found in nature and in the tenuous freedom from past and identity. Japanese pop star UA delivers a striking debut performance as Ryo, whose Piscean ethereality is complemented perfectly by Tadanobu Asano's quiet intensity as Yusaku.
• Written by Sugimori. Photographed by Hiroshi Machida. With UA, Tadanobu Asano, Mayumi Ogawa, Hikaru. (115 mins)