27 December 2010


This is kind of a simple film, in a way - it's about a guy who goes home to visit his father and retarded brother, who run a bathhouse together. The main character is a businessman, so there's the somewhat predictable contrast of his high-powered way of life and the more placid everyday workings of the bathhouse. Which is fine, but the movie really isn't about narrative at all. It's more in the characters themselves. I think there must be some kind of name for this sub-genre of films, generally foreign, that are like vignettes about various characters and their woes. There's a kind of anecdotal quality to it - so-and-so is having marriage problems, so-and-so has self-esteem issues, and the central space/character of the film is usually a kind of therapeutic figure who helps all these people in clever ways. You know what I mean? Shower is definitely in that category.

But it's also, I thought, just a beautiful film. There are a couple scenes that, I dunno, just got to me. Though I guess anyone singing O Sole Mio, even (and maybe especially) badly kind of gets me. The guy who plays the retarded brother emanates a kind of warmth and joy that resonates with me on some deeper level. And I think, in terms of portraying characters with disabilities, the movie does a pretty good job? Though perhaps someone could disagree with me, and I'm be curious what they had to say.

Anyhow, overall - a lovely film. Definitely worth watching.

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