View Full Version : Kotoko (2011) - Warning, Spoilers

11-05-2012, 07:29 PM
After seeing 47lab's write-up on this film yesterday I had to check it out and was very impressed. A truly harrowing film with a stunning central performance from Cocco. It's amazing to me that, as different as this was from Tetsuo conceptually and visually, they clearly share share so much stylistic DNA. This was a more mature and...human work, but very much of a piece with that earlier film. It was also impressive that, as intense as this film frequently got, it was still thread with humor and genuine beauty.

I put the spoiler warning in the subject line because the film has an extremely ambiguous ending, and I'm curious to see how others interpreted it. So, 47lab (and any others that have already seen it) what did you think?

Personally, I thought that the boy's gesture by the tree at the very end was a confirmation that he was Daijiro and that her murder of him was a hallucination. So presumably that means that at least everything from the point where she gets the letter from her sister forward was "unreliable." But if she didn't kill Daijiro, how/why did she end up committed? My first thought was that she actually murdered the novelist. His sudden, unexplained departure coincided with the letter suggests that perhaps that was what caused her to finally lose the last of her grip on reality.

On the other hand, the fact that all his stuff was gone too suggests maybe he just up and left for his own safety (or that perhaps he was never there in the first place.)


11-08-2012, 12:10 AM
yeah, I was in the same quandary as well. It was difficult at times through out this movie to distinguish between "reality" & "fantasy" but the ending was clearly intended on the part of Tsukamoto to be rather nebulous. Upon my first viewing, I was also thinking along the same lines that perhaps the "Tanaka" writer character was just another hallucination by Cocco & another sign of her impending mental collapse particularly after she lost custody of Daijiro.

I thought she had really committed infanticide and the whole scene with her son visiting her at the mental institution was just a figment of her imagination. But upon reading your post, the other scenarios you mentioned also seem plausible. I guess I'll have to re-watch this film a couple times to look for further clues as to whether my initial feeling was correct or if I was totally off the mark.

It was interesting to note that in the interview with Tsukamoto in the special features, he mentions that Cocco had dealt with the same issues as her character in the film i.e. "self harm" & "mental depression" in her past. Obviously to a lesser extent but the scenes of her cutting herself had to be eerily haunting for her & perhaps this role was a bit of a cathartic experience to deal with the 'demons in her past.' Whatever the case, she certainly put forward a memorable performance & I agree with your statement that this movie for all of its grim & unsettling subject matter, it had moments filled with sheer beauty and humor as well (albeit dark humor). Just a phenomenal film all around and one of the most haunting I've seen in recent years.