A Day-Off of Kasumi Arimura (Arimura Kasumi No Satsukyu)
Released in Japan as part of a television series earlier this year, A Day-Off of Kasumi Arimura is a charming episodic drama centred around the fictitious personal life of existing actress Arimura. When given an unexpected day off due to an outbreak of the flu, the titular protagonist decides to travel home to visit her mother (Jun Fubuki), revisiting conversations and old friends along the way. Taking exceptional pride in her famous daughter’s achievements, Kasumi’s mother revels in showing her off to her local friends, much to the embarrassment of the young star. But, what Kasumi learns in the process is far more precious, as she realises that the simplicities of life become all the more valuable over the course of time.
Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda – a filmmaker renowned for his distinguished oeuvre including Like Father, Like Son and 2018 Palme d’Or-winning Shoplifters – this series is his first step back into television since Ishibumi (2015) and it doesn’t disappoint. This is not the director’s first time collaborating with Fubuki, and it’s evident that they make an excellent pairing. The whole cast gives engaging performances, serving the warm and innocent narrative well.
Set in the suburbs, the series is rich with naturalistic cinematography; a beautiful, culturally charged soundtrack that immediately jumps out at the viewer and a tapestry of relationships, thoughtful conversations and moments of humour. The episodes are prudently written, never spoiling for scenes of devastation or chaos, but instead addressing the smaller dramas in life, whether they be financial, romantic or even about simply living life honestly and to the best of your means. The comedy injected into the script is timely and well-executed, even down to the smaller, perhaps inadvertently topical jokes littered along the way. The suggestion of a wave of flu cancelling Arimura’s filming schedule and the observation that ‘“we didn’t used to cancel just because of flu” might resonate more in the context of the pandemic.
A Day-Off of Kasumi Arimura may be considered cutesy and twee, but it is very enjoyable and therapeutic as a result. Presenting an episodic insight into the world of Japanese television and the work of such a terrific director, the programme is welcome and appreciated addition to this year’s London Film Festival, once again contributing to the brilliant broad variety of international features on offer during such a difficult period for the industry.
A Day-Off of Kasumi Arimura (Arimura Kasumi No Satsukyu) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2020 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.