Almost Coming, Almost Dying (" Kumoman")

International Premiere
  • Japan
  • 2017
  • 90 mins
  • Japanese
  • English (subtitles)
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It’s been a long time since 29-year-old Manabu Nakagawa had a real job, and at least that long since he enjoyed an intimate moment with a woman (if ever, some suspect). It’s New Years Eve in Sapporo, and the disheveled goof has decided to reward himself for finally snagging a teaching gig. He’s going to indulge his fetish for office girls at a local sex club, and buy himself a blowjob. Manabu’s in luck, the pretty Yunoa is working tonight and she can pencil him in. Manabu’s little indulgence takes him right to edge of an ecstatic climax – and then, bang!

Ask yourself this: if you found yourself buck naked in the hospital following, say, a sudden, life-threatening brain hemorrhage, which occurred while you were doing something you’re mortifyingly ashamed of – and your concerned family really wants to know just what was going on – what would you do? In the case of Japanese comic artist Manabu Nakagawa, you’d relate every squirm-inducing detail in a popular autobiographical manga (“Kumoman”, named after the bat-wielding phantom teddybear Nakagawa envisioned as a mascot for Reversible Cerebral Vasoconstriction Syndrome). Adapting this awkward, self-deprecating tale is Toshimasa Kobayashi, a TV director graduating to the big screen with this debut. Kobayashi deftly weaves together threads of medical drama, family tearjerker, lowbrow screwballin’ and thoughtful, high-concept dark comedy, and never overdoes any element. TV comedian Misoo Nou is spot-on in the lead, nailing Manabu’s maladroit manner perfectly. ALMOST COMING, ALMOST DYING is almost... no, definitely, a snappy but understated little film that gives a peek into the creative mind – quite literally.

- Rupert Bottenberg

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