[From March Issue 2011]
Calmi Cuori Appassionati [Between Calmness and Passion]
(Directed by NAKAE Isamu)
This feature film was adapted from the 1999 bestselling novel of the same name. TSUJI Hitonari and EKUNI Kaori ran alternating stories in a monthly magazine, from the points of view of a man and woman in a relationship together. TAKENOUCHI Yutaka and Hong Kong actress Kelly CHEN starred in the 2001 movie version. The film was shot in Tokyo, and in the Italian cities of Florence and Milan. The screenplay was a mixture of three languages – Japanese, English and Italian, effectively portrayed by the cast of characters.
AGATA Junsei is apprenticing at a workshop in Florence, Italy, hoping to become a fine art restorer – a Restauro. Recognizing his talent, his master entrusts him with restoring a Cigoli painting. His life, and his relationship with Japanese exchange student Memi, seems to be going perfectly. However, in his heart he still has feelings for his ex-girlfriend, Aoi.
One day, Junsei finds out that Aoi is in Milan. He goes to see her, only to find out she has a boyfriend named Marvin. She tells Junsei: “I’m over the past. I’m happy now.” Heart-broken, Junsei sadly returns to Florence. There, he learns that someone had sliced through the Cigoli painting. Without any suspects, the workshop is temporary closed. Depressed, Junsei returns to Japan.
Junsei and Aoi had attended the same college, where, at the time, she was an exchange student from Hong Kong. For some reason, Junsei was attracted to this lonesome girl, and soon an intimate relationship developed where they understood each other’s feelings, even when silent. One day Aoi suggest that they promise to climb to Florence’s Duomo cathedral together, on her 30th birthday, in 10 years time. But soon after making their promise, they broke up.
While the criminal who damaged the painting has not yet been found, the workshop reopens. Junsei, unable to let go of his feelings for Aoi, breaks up with Memi and returns to Florence. On Aoi’s 30th birthday he climbs alone to the top of the Duomo. Aoi also arrives, and they end up spending the night together in each other’s arms. But Junsei, who believes that Aoi is still with Marvin, regrets their reunion.
Meanwhile, as Aoi leaves his apartment, she tells him how grateful she is that he was a part of her life. After she’s gone, he realizes that Aoi is no longer with Marvin. He then jumps on to the next express train for Milan to catch up to her. On the Milan-bound train Aoi cries, but then sees Junsei looking for her on the station platform, smiling and waving. Relieved, Aoi returns his smile as the film comes to its end.