Kotoko (2011): Drama/Horror

As her mental state deteriorates, a single mother loses custody of her child, escalating further her suffering and self-destruction.

One of the most realistic cinematic depictions of mental illness! Dramatic as much as it is horrific, Kotoko cuts your breath short and breaks your heart. Cocco’s frenetic acting (and original story), and Shin’ya Tsukamoto’s writing, editing, and directing bring to life a fairly unknown, and, consequently, underrated drama/horror that physically pins you down and mentally disturbs you. One of the rare occasions where a film is directed and edited by the same person and actually works. More often than not, the director fails to “kill their darlings” while editing, but Tsukamoto not only does that, but he also delivers a final cut where all the “wants” and “needs” are clearly distinguished and the character development, or its excruciating effort to develop, defined.

Kotoko is relentless and brutal! It delves into Kotoko’s derailing mental state and deprives her of her life, taking away her willingness to exist. Tsukamoto’s narrative restricts you to the way Kotoko perceives the world and her distorted and manipulated reality infinitely increases the unpredictability, giving you zero clues as to what may happen in the end. Not knowing what the worst will be, the bad becomes worse and worse, and worse… not knowing when it’ll get there.

Heavy on the soul, but highly recommended to whoever seeks to explore a true cinematic representation of mental illness.

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P.S. Take the hint of the adverse media and how that may affect, or even define people’s lives. There is a message there that is not to be discounted.

2 thoughts on “Kotoko (2011): Drama/Horror

  1. Not my usual film but definitely one to look out for. I did however watch The Last Sentinel yesterday after your recommendation. I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. Thank you.

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