Word by Fausto Vernazzani
Shimada is crying, maybe he has recently lost his wife in an accident, or to another man. We cannot be sure of it. It will need a few minutes in “Friendship” in order to reveal us the true nature of Shimada: he’s an actor in both worlds. Takashi Yamamoto is in front of a camera, attending as many auditions as he can to break the wall and finally be a famous actor, someone who could eventually shape and give sense to someone life. Especially his own.
Mikihiro Endo is the real director behind the camera, screenwriter together with Hiroshi Okada for this entertaining and “educational” movie “Friendship” seems a product of the Eights, similar to those basis which allowed Alejandro Amenabar to create his famous “Abres los ojos”, a sort of sociological flick where a curious agency provides an emotional situation to their clients, giving them a karaoke night they always dreamt of, a drink with their long lost sons or a secret reunion with thier terrorist friend. It’s a place where both common people and unemployment actors can finally find a reason to their hidden desires and aspirations.
Friendship simply cannot delude the audience’s expectations, and its protagonist, Yamamoto, has clearly a splendid future in front of him, more than often resembling a young Koji Yakusho, with whom he shares a strong ability to express felling with the slightest movements of his eyes. Endo’s first movie looks more than a simple graduation project, it could easily be compared to a professional’s work.