The latest film from Danish director Daniel Dencik, Miss Osaka (2021), is a beautifully crafted Danish-Japanese production with an original and haunting story.
Ines (Victoria Carmen Sonne) is a young woman unsure of herself. On a buisness trip to Norway with her workaholic boyfriend (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard) she meets Maria (Nagisa Morimoto) who also goes by the name Mimiko. She is a showgirl at a Japanese nightclub in Osaka. Ines and Maria look alike and starts hanging out in the rocky nature of Norway and forms a beautiful friendship. Ines is obsessed with Maria and wants to be just like her. One night after drinking and driving in the snowy nature, Maria disappears and Ines takes on Maria's clothing, as well as her passport and flying ticket. Suddenly Ines find herself in Osaka flirting with strange men at a nightclub.
The story raises the question: "Who would you be if you could be anyone?" (which is also the film's tagline) - and Ines surely wants to be Maria/Mimiko. As soon as Ines becomes her, she comes out of her shell - she is happier, more free and does her best to fit in in Japan. The showgirls at the nightclub are paid to chat/flirt with men, seem interested in them and light their cigarettes (norhing sexual). But when the girls are acting all the time, how can Ines be sure she ever knew Maria/Mimiko? And for how long can she escape her past? And how is her future? And who is Ines exactly?
This neo-noir drama raises many questions on identity, leaves room for much interpretation and declines linear story telling. You feel Ines' desire to be another person, but at the same time you know it's a wrong-doing. Some of Ines' choices may seem a bit unmotivated at times, but I think it is important for Dencik that we never know for sure who Ines is. The film tells what happens, when you're not satisfied with being who you are - but the ending leaves much room for discussion, the identity puzzle is not really solved.
Ines is played wonderfully by Victoria Carmen Sonne, who is the future of Danish cinema. It's nice again to see her embody a complex character who is quiet and underplayed until she is forced to be otherwise. Her claim to power is a dangerous, yet exciting journey and Sonne adds just enough fire to Ines, so the audience don't know what happens next.
Miss Osaka is beautifully shotted - from the northern lights of Norway to the neon signs of Osaka. The viewer is drawn in to a world of dreams, fantasy, identity games and electronic music (perfectly composed by Kwamie Liv). Yet the harsh reality, Ines' real identity is never far away. Even though this film sounds very serious it actually has a lot of humorous elements to it that makes Ines' transition to Japan very Human and persuasive.
All in all Miss Osaka is wonderful, but I'm not sure I know her - even long after the credits roll. What we have here is a nice piece of Danish arthouse cinema that hauntes the viewer with an outstanding ending and confronts us with our desire to become another.
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During a trip to Northern Norway with her boyfriend, Ines accidentally meets seductive Japanese hostess Maria--a meeting that ends on a deadly note in the harsh wasteland of the winter country, but becomes a new beginning for Ines, who soon finds herself under a new name in a remote and foreign city: Osaka, Japan.
Uploaded by: FREEMAN
October 03, 2022 at 10:15 PM