Nobuhiro Suwa, a TV documentarian making his feature debut, scripted this exciting 1996 psychodrama about the breakup of a young couple, but he asked his actors to forget the script after reading it and improvise their own dialogue, and to make things more interesting he periodically interviews lead actors Eri Yu and Hidetoshi Nishijima in character, asking them about their feelings and motivations. Inspired by Jacques Rivette, Suwa is less interested in a free-form experiment than in the play between fiction and documentary, freedom and discipline. The film’s extraordinary camera work, as creatively improvised as the performances, is by Masaki Tamura (Narita: Heta Village); highly original in its unorthodox framings and its rare combination of empathy and independence, it shapes the film as much as Suwa’s sensitive direction does. Also known as 2 Duo. (JR)

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