Female Filmmaker Friday: Tremble All You Want (Katte ni furuetero) (2017) [Fantasia 2018]

A young woman who has never dated lives in her imagination and in memories of the one boy who made her teenage heart flutter. As she tries to reconnect with him, another option opens right in front of her. What will she go for and how will it affect her life?

Directed by Akiko Ohku who also wrote the screenplay based on the novel by Risa Wataya, Tremble All You Want is a sweet story about holding onto the past, looking for what one wants, having standards, and learning to let go. The way to film is built and written is sweet but not overly so, the lead of Yoshika has an active imagination and it adds a big chunk of whimsy to the story and makes it about more than just a girl chasing a boy who may or may not give her a second thought. Some of the scenes have a bit of a feel similar to that of Amelie while not having a similar color palette and shooting style, something that is definitely good in establishing mood but also in establishing the director as doing her own thing here.

The cast is led by Mayu Matsuoka as Yoshika giving a charming and somewhat innocent interpretation of a young woman who has mostly lived in her own imagination. Her range here works perfectly for the part and she is very sweet to watch evolve with a few moments of frustration which add to the character. She manages to give Yoshika a friendly quality that makes the viewer root for her, whatever the outcome may be. Playing the main love interest here is Takumi Kitamura as Ichi (meaning “One” which comes into play in the film), Kitamura gives a good yet detached performance when in reality and a warmer one when in Yoshika’s imagination. His switch is interesting to watch and helps differenciate the real world from the imagined. Playing her second option, the man who actually pays attention to her, albeit in the wrong way at times, is Daichi Watanabe who is talented here while still coming off a bit annoying which is perfect for his part. Giving a performance that attracts the eye and is memorable is actress Hairi Katagiri as Yoshika’s neighbor referred to as Okarina. She’s a bit odd here and just fun to watch. The rest of the cast is not bad at all, all giving good performances that work for the material and with the general feel of the film.

Tremble All You Want is a simply shot film, even in the imagination sequences setting it apart from other movies playing in that field such as the aforementioned Amelie. The cinematography by Natsuyo Nakamura gives the film its own look in terms of an imagination centric film. Here the imagined world of Yoshika is just as grey and kind of plain as her real world, making it difficult to separate the two at times, something that serves the story greatly as the viewer is unsure as to what is real and what is imagined, leaving them a bit in the same boat as the lead. This works fantastically well and is perfect here. The images may be whimsy-free and a bit grey but they are nonetheless beautiful at times with some scenes being visually stunning while being understated, a hard balance to achieve.

Tremble All You Want is a sweet film about a girl who is trying to find her way having very little experience in the field of love and life. She works well and hard, but is alone most of the rest of the time, leading her to have an overactive imagination which may or may not be a good thing here. She eventually takes her real life into her own hands and does things few have the courage to do on the way to finding her place and who her love might really be. It’s well-made film with good performances and a visual style that fits the story and tone perfectly.

Fantasia 2018 runs from July 12th to August 2nd, 2018.