Japanese writer Haruki Murakami is undoubtedly among the most prominent figures of global literature. Translations of Murakami’s works have enabled many people around the world to engage with his art, contributing to the increase in awareness about Japanese literature in general and encouraging others to explore more.
Murakami’s forays into various genres and his incorporation of magical realism have resulted in an enigmatic body of work. Over the years, there have been a few adaptations of his stories and the most prominent Murakami adaptation came last year when Ryusuke Hamaguchi directed a modern masterpiece – Drive My Car.
Among the adaptations that existed before Drive My Car, a truly fascinating one was made in 1983. Unlike Hamaguchi’s three-hour feature, Naoto Yamakawa’s beautiful interpretation of Murakami’s short story falls under the short film category as it is only twelve minutes long but within that small runtime, it achieves a lot of things.
Using pioneering visual techniques, Yamakawa sets out to convey the inherent loneliness of love that Murakami explored in his short story titled “On seeing the 100% perfect girl one beautiful April Morning”. As the title explains, it captures reflections on love which are inspired by meeting your soulmate out of nowhere.
A lot of the film’s narration is directly based on Murakami’s short story but it is the brilliant editing that catches one’s eye. The film as well as the story explore what it means to fall in love with someone at a particular moment in time and space, crystallised forever. With the passage of time, however, that compatibility is inevitably rendered impermanent.
Murakami’s words retain their power: “But the glow of their memories was far too weak, and their thoughts no longer had the clarity of fourteen years earlier. Without a word, they passed each other, disappearing into the crowd. Forever. A sad story, don’t you think? Yes, that’s it, that is what I should have said to her.”
Check out the short film A Girl, She Is 100% below.