Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman review – inventive Murakami adaptation

The writing of Haruki Murakami has inspired numerous cinema adaptations, including Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Oscar-winning Drive My Car and Lee Chang-dong’s Burning. But nothing, so far, as odd and inventive as the adult animation Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, the feature film-making debut of French composer Pierre Földes. This surreal English-language collection of interlinked stories is set in and around Tokyo in the recent aftermath of the 2011 earthquake. A cat goes missing, a marriage breaks down, a large, extravagantly boastful frog visits a meek bank-teller and stresses that he must assist in the defeat of a destructive giant subterranean worm. Földes’s matter-of-fact approach to storytelling balances the tendency towards quirkiness in the material. Dream logic coexists with the crushingly mundane, in a picture that also showcases the director’s musical talents with an intricate and involving score.