Director Shunji Iwai follows up on the wild success of his star-crossed romantic drama Love Letter with this slick, brooding tale about a trio of mental asylum inmates and one really long wall. Koko (played by pop icon Chara) is placed into an institution after she embarrasses her rich family by killing crows. Sporting a skimpy black dress and a crow's feather boa, she believes that the world was created when she was born and will end when she dies. At the institution, she befriends Tsumuji (Tadanobu Asano), a lad who killed his bullying teacher in a fit of rage and is now haunted by his ghost. After reading a Bible that a priest had given him, Tsumuji becomes convinced that the world is coming to an end. His friend Satoru (Koichi Hashizume) is a quiet retiring sort who is obsessed with rules and who compulsively masturbates. One day, this strange threesome decides to leave the asylum and have a picnic before the world's eminent end. Sensitive to Satoru's neuroses, the trio doesn't hop the hospital walls, but instead walks on top of them. Fortunately, this wall happens to be the longest such edifice this side of China, as it extends to the sea. There, their own personal apocalypse unfolds. Add Synopsis In Portuguese
Cast & Credits
Iwai's portrayal of mental illness is not wishy-washy nor is it romanticized. Instead, he gives us something real. These characters speak with the desire to be understood. Often, their words carry more than one meaning -- one that many misunderstand. When Satoru says, "Save me" while being strangled by blankets left to dry, he meant 1) literally save me 2) save me from this world and from myself. These little details are so nice and appreciated.
Picnic is a simple tale. With just an hour running time, Iwai embraces the cinematography with such beautiful visuals and light soundtrack, it tugs at your heartstrings. Despite being confined to wall within the walls, you feel like you are also exploring the world with the three main characters. Their stories are disturbing but that's precisely what makes it feel real. Carrying a picnic basket while watching the end of the world is such a simple act, it makes the "end of the world" feel as if it's just an every day thing.
While the theme of religion play here, I don't think Iwai is preaching. Instead, he gives the message that our life is dictated by us as much as we believe in God or not.
The final scene, black feathers contrast with the pink/yellow sun as it's about to set is so beautiful I will remember it forever.