Harsh Texture

World of Kanako

A disgraced former detective must wrestle with the darkness that grew in his daughter as he searches for her

The Drafthouse logo doesn’t really denote “great” films. Instead they’re passionate about the interesting failures.

World of Kanako highlights a man who’s descended into madness. We learn he committed unforgivable atrocities to his own family. He is rightfully banished from his home. In his absence, his daughter resolves to turn herself into an absolute monster.

Drafthouse isn’t distributing World of Kanako for its plot, we get to see it because of its execution. Matching the mental state of its protagonist, the past, the future, and dreams play out in the present. We never know when we’ve slipped into a hallucination or are viewing reality. Confusing matters, World of Kanako also features a parallel plotline from three years earlier that features a character who’s relation to Kanako’s disappearance is oblique at best.

Tetsuya Nakashima tells the story in a glitchy style where most cuts are exceedingly short. The camera mostly keeps in tight on the actors. Establishing shots are blinks. I found the effect disorientating in a way that didn’t lend itself to the narrative, but I must admit its unique. I wonder if this is the first example of cinema trying to absorb the language that’s evolved on YouTube or Vine. Every cut is a jump cut until the film settles down at the last few minutes and delivers a bleak, open-ended coda.

Published: Oct. 14, 2018, 1:32 p.m.
Updated: Oct. 14, 2018, 1:32 p.m.