Blank 13 is a Japanese film based on a true story of a film director, Koji Hashimoto’s life. It was Takumi Saito’s debut film, a used to be model turned to actor (now a director). Saito already has a lot of fans from Japan – many were in the theater and there was a small ceremony and interview done at the end of the movie.
The movie was about a burdening father, Masato, with a gambling problem. Him and his wife, along with their two sons lived in a tiny apartment while being harrassed by the yakuzas everyday. One day, Masato takes off and leaves his family behind with a large debt. The mother and the children are left to work multiple jobs just to survive.
13 years later, after the family is finally clear of debt, they find out that Masato is dying from a terminal cancer. Koji, the youngest son, goes to visit his father – just to find out that he still has the same bad habit of borrowing money.
When Masato dies, they hold a funeral for him, and strangers come to pay their respect. While each of them talk about the memories they had of and with him, the sons realize that Masato was a good hearted and caring person. This leads them into feeling confused and having mixed feelings for a man they had hated their whole lives.
Blank 13 started off great with an effortless indie vibe. I already had a good feeling about the film after the first five minutes and was happy that I made a good choice to watch it. However, the movie was strange in how it immediately turned dull and repetitive in the second half of the movie. Basically after the introduction, the boys’ childhood, and the beginning of adulthood, the rest of the film took place at the funeral. From then on, it was fast paced and none of the stories that the strangers told about Masato was emotional, funny, or interesting. It was a very broad description of what he had done for them.
I think I understand what kind of reaction and meaning Saito was hoping to bring with this movie. Unfortunately, he didn’t succeed in it. The scenes in the funeral was very amateur and boring. The storyline could’ve been more interesting if there was something else to create that spark it was missing. I kept thinking there must be more to this as I kept watching the film but it was over before I knew it.