Bright Future Kiyoshi Kurosawa

At first, Bright Future is completely inscrutable, a head-scratching collection of antisocial and obsessive behaviours that add up to who knows what.

It’s hard to see the purpose of the two young men in dead end jobs, one of whom is deeply alienated and owns a poisonous jellyfish as a pet; nor does the double-murder he commits make much sense; and don’t even talk to me about his admonishment to acclimatising the salt-water fish to fresh water.

But as the other man and the killer’s father come together to fulfil his wish, the film’s purpose becomes clear: it’s about people learning to negotiate the dictates of a social life they never chose. And as the two men defiantly insinuate the jellyfish into Tokyo’s waterways, they metaphorically force their environment to accept their demands instead of the other way around.

And so the film fits nicely into the alienated discomfiture of Kurosawa’s Cure and Pulse, centred as it is on people who cling to their half-understood desires in a society that rides straight over them. And with the director’s usual visual élan and gentle sympathy, it once again demonstrates his uncanny skill in beguiling the cultural highbrows and the J-horror fanboys in equal measure.

Kurosawa fans will be especially pleased by the disc’s inclusion of Ambivalent Future, a 75-minute “making of” documentary that goes well beyond the usual star-powered love-in. Helpfully divided into several sub-categories, it’s a portrait of the director as reticent and unwilling to impose artificial order on his characters, hoping for the accidents that make a scene breathe and underline the chaotic nature of human behaviour. Also included are the film’s trailer, and a Palm Pictures preview gallery. (Palm/SMV)