In the opinion of Tokyo-based writer Don Brown of Ryuganji, "the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan has settled for a typically middling selection." He's talking about Japan's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award; the selection in question is a film entitled I Just Didn't Do It. Brown says he's hard pressed to think of a more suitable candidate, though he offers suggestions that he feels would have been more adventuresome (Memories of Matsuko) or more conservative (Love and Honor).

Written and directed by Masayuki Suo (his first film since the original Shall We Dance? in 1996), I Just Didn't Do It centers on the travails of Teppei, a young man uncertain about his future. According to the official site, "On his way to his first job interview ... he's accused of groping a young woman on the train. ... Before he knows what's going on, his denials plunge him into a Kafka-esque world of bureaucratic precedent." Ryo Kase (Letters From Iwo Jima) plays Teppei; Koji Yakusho and Asaka Seto are attorneys hired to help him.

Mark Schilling of The Japan Times observed: "The Japanese are a law-abiding people for a very good reason -- once the system here has you in its grips you are well and truly in the meat grinder." He feels the film drives its points home "with an unrivaled forcefulness." Variety's Russell Edwards was not as enthusiastic yet still wrote: "Patient viewers will appreciate helmer's determination to show the tedious and the wearing nature of the extended and inequitable legal process." The film will screen at the New York Film Festival on October 9 and 10. I Just Didn't Do It does not yet have US distribution.

[ Via The Golden Rock and TokyoGraph ]