Skip to main content

THE FIRST TIMERS

Japan, 1999 (MIFF 1999, Regional Features)

Director: Isao Morimoto

Robert Nicholas, a drifting journalist in his mid-30s, nar­rates this painfully beautiful film as Boku ('I' in Japanese). In early 1989, Boku is a foreign student of Japanese Literature at a university in Kyoto. He lives in a crowded, filthy share house in the ancient, exotic city. Despite the length of his stay be is seen as a permanent 'Ichigensan', a first time visitor and outsider

Passionate about his studies and books, Boku volun­teers to visit with and read aloud to a young blind woman, Kyoko. Their time together, reading and talking, draws the couple closer and a gentle romance blossoms. Boku is amazed at the acuity of Kyoko's senses, her life seems to be richer than his own sighted existence.

Alongside this involvement, Boku struggles with his ongoing status as an outsider. Everyday encounters leave him insulted and his final thesis is judged a disap­pointing failure due to the incorrect use of a single word. His frustrations mount and place stress on the most important relationship of his life

The First Timers is a rare gift, a gentle, simple yet rich film that charts the progress of love in timeless fash­ion. Australian cinematographer Peter Borosh captures the architecture, gardens and streets of Kyoto magnificently— his use of colour and composition is breathtaking. The perfect atmospheric musical accompaniment is provided by Japanese duo S.E.N.S. who provided the soundtrack for Hou Hsiao-hsien's award-winning City of Sadness (1989).

Based on David Zoppetti's partially autobiographi­cal novel, The First Timers communicates a real sense of alienation within a community while striving to gain acceptance. The emotional turbulence and heartache in trying to accommodate both passion and rejection, and reconcile conflicting personal status, is depicted with moving authenticity. A heart-warming experience.

See also...

THE BIRD PEOPLE IN CHINA

Contrasling images of flight—primeval, mystical, hi-tech—set the tone for a remarkable journey backwards in time to the most distant part of China. Yunnan is frozen in time, a place so ... More »

APRIL STORY

Uzuki Nireno bids farewell to her family and relocates to Tokyo to attend University. As the film progresses at a gentle pace, it becomes evident that the long-haired boy at the local bookstore has ... More »

SAMURAI FICTION

The classic Samurai film has been drastically updated in this dazzling feature debut by Hiroyuki Nakano. An official selection at Sundance and Montreal Film Festivals, Samurai Fiction has taken the ... More »

A SCENE AT THE SEA

Fans of Takeshi's two films prior to this (Violent Cop and Boiling Point) must have had their expectations confounded! After his relentless explorations of renegade cops and pitiless Yakuza, to come ... More »

WITHOUT MEMORY

Without Memory is a melancholy document of three years in the life of Sekine Hiroshi, diagnosed with Wernicke's Kosakoff Syndrome, a minute but profound damage to the brain which prevents him from ... More »

THE EEL

The Eel (winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes 1997) balances comic tragedy and drama in its telling of the rehabilitation of Takuro, released from jail after stabbing his wife eight years previous. In ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director