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‘Day is Done’

by Kaori Shoji

“I hope you’re alive when I see you again. Ciao.” That’s one of the messages left on the home answering machine of filmmaker Thomas Imbach (“Mary Queen of Scots”) who made a little autobiographical detour in an auspicious film career with “Day is Done.”

Shot entirely from the window of Imbach’s studio, this is a cinematic novella in which we hear people leaving messages on Imbach’s machine; some are exuberant (like his agent telling him he’s won a prize at a film festival) but mostly they sound a bit frustrated. One recurring caller is his ex-wife, who has moved out with their infant son. At times, she seems friendly and positive about bringing up their child. Mostly though, her tone and words imply a deep sadness at his coldness.

Day is Done (Owariyuku Ichinichi)
Rating

Could the film be Imbach’s way of atoning? It’s hard to say. The main emotion here isn’t loneliness or regret but a sort of clinical detachment. Imbach himself is strangely absent, proffering no personal reaction apart from what he sees outside his window. As a filmmaker, we sense his skill; the precision of his technique. But as a man, he radiates no intimacy. That he seems fascinated by this trait makes the film itself fascinating.

For a chance to win one of five pairs of tickets to “Day is Done,” visit jtimes.jp/film.