Arrested on his 30th birthday
His crime: UNKNOWN
Present day Tokyo: Yosuke Kimura wakes up to find two men in his room. They tell him he is “under arrest” but even they do not know the charge. Kimura has to report to a strange court in the suburbs, but the ways of the court are absurd, and though he is “under arrest” Kimura is free to carry on his life as normal. As his case continues he finds that he has become very attractive to women, but they all seem to want something from him, though some of them claim that they know about his case and can help him. The more Kimura struggles to prove his innocence, the more the people around him treat him like a criminal. He begins to find answers in bizarre places: from his clients, from a strange puppeteer, from a Priest. But, little by little he begins to understand there is no exit from the labyrinth into which he is stumbling. All paths lead to some kind of punishment in the end.
The novel that this film is based on is about a man who suddenly “wakes up” on his 30th birthday. I think Kafka chose the age of 30 very carefully – because the protagonist doesn’t just wake up. He has a kind of “awakening.” He looks around him and sees the world in a completely different way. Nothing makes sense any more. All his life, his work, his blind obedience to the rules of society and the world (in truth he has never broken the law) suddenly seem meaningless in face of the one appalling fact. He is “under arrest.” This is obviously a metaphor and the metaphor is blindingly clear. We are all “under arrest” so how shall we plead? How shall we justify our lives?
I chose to set it in Tokyo now, in a pretty much “real world” as if the dream reality has become the world we live in, and I hope that for the audience who see the film in Japan it will make them think about things that are happening in Japan and the world right now.
We all wake up everyday now to a new reality, in a world that is the same but different. Can we do anything about this world or do we just accept that it is very strange? If we do accept the strangeness are we “under arrest” too? If we start to question this strangeness what will happen to us? How free are we even to think the thoughts that question the strangeness of this world?
I hope the film works as a very small, shrill and persistent alarm clock, telling the audience to: Wake up!