Short Movie Time: The Report (2020) [JFFH 2020]

Introduction

Takuya Fukushima, known from narratives like Modern Love (2017) and Playroom (2018), present his next film, a short-film dedicated to the music of the Tokyo band Punk Ass Summer.

Review

The Report is not so much a narrative in the traditional sense of the signifier but a narrative in function of the musical accompaniment – it is, in other words, a music video. This is evident from the fact that the musical accompaniment dictates the flow of the composition.

The narrative Fukushima concocted to introduce the music of the Tokyo band “Punk Ass Summer” can best be understood as a sci-fi romance. This sci-fi is told in three parts – three so-called reports of (what we think are) two android models (played by Minnie Matsuoka and Walter Q. Jackson III) dictated by three different songs.  

The Report (2020) by Takuya Fukushima

Even though short narratives with a profound thematical depth exist (e.g. Tokyo Girl (2019)), one should not expect any short narrative to have such depth. The Report does not have this depth. The narrative depicts, in fact, nothing more than a lover’s quarrel and its resolution. Nevertheless, Fukushima, by mixing a sci-fi aspect into his narrative, is able to touch upon one aspect, an aspect uncommon in romance but not in sci-fi: the emotional impact of realizing that one is not a human of flesh and blood. As androids are in Fukushima’s The Report presented as having no physical difference to real humans, the discovery of the truth of her being subtly puts her existence and therefore her romance into question.

The most salient element of Fukushima’s composition is not the fact that it blends offers fixed and dynamic shots fluidly together or that its function of the beats of the music, but the fact that narrative is almost entirely framed in slow-motion – two shots are framed in fast-forward,

The Report (2020) by Takuya Fukushima

While most of the composition fits the beat and the rhythm of the songs perfectly, there are nevertheless some cuts that are a bit too eye-popping. In various cases, this eye-popping aspect is caused by the fact that the subsequent shots are too similar (i.e. same setting), but also subtly different (i.e. a slightly different camera viewpoint) (Cine-note 1).    

The Report might lack the depth some other short films have, this does not stop Fukushima’s Sci-fi romance music video from being a pleasant narrative that also succeeds in touching the spectator. But above all, The Report is effective showcase of the lesser well-known band Punk Ass Summer.

Notes

Cine-note 1: In two of these cases, the jarring transition is empowered due to the cut (deliberately) missing the beat.

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