Kuro: Paint it Black

Kuro, the term is Japanese for the color black or ‘dark’. And dark this film is, but it also has a simple plot but told in a very unique way.

I have provided the plot synopsis below because the film got a little confusing and I’ll explain that later on:

Romi, a Japanese woman living in Paris, works in a karaoke bar. At home in the suburbs, she tends to her paraplegic lover Milou. To pass the time she recounts to him a story alluding to a period they once spent together in Japan.

The best way to explain the storytelling in “Kuro” is:

  1. The dialogue does not follow what’s happening on screen.
  2. We never see the stories that Remi recounts, we only hear them (thank God for that).

When I first watched this movie I only got about 10 minutes in because I was very confused, I also didn’t read up on the synopsis. But after giving it a second try, I was engrossed with the plot.

We follow with what’s happening on screen with Romi, we follow her taking care of Milou. We never find out what happened to make him paraplegic and that adds even more mystery to the story.

Now, the story that Romi tells is interesting. We find out how her and Milou meet and their interactions about watching cartoons as kid. I thought it was a entertaining about their discussion with anime and how Milou watched them dubbed, but didn’t realize that they originated in Japan. Their initial meeting turns into a relationship.

Romi works in the healthcare business and is soon transferred to a larger facility, which limited their time spent with eachother. To remedy this, they decide to move in together. Milou, who is a photographer, ends up losing his job. Romi then gets a job as a live in carer for an elder by the name of Mr. Ono.

For awhile, everything is okay. Romi follows a daily routine with Mr. Ono (clipping warts, doing shopping, etc). This puts a strain on her relationship with Milou though. So what better way to make that next step but have the other half move into the home where you are working at. Nothing can go wrong, right?

Things do turn south. Romi focuses on work which causes some tension with Milou, so she then focuses on Milou, which causes tension with Mr. Ono. It’s a never ending struggle. The end result is a fractured relationship and very severe neglect and abuse for Mr. Ono and she experiences a mental breakdown and Mr. Ono is a victim of said breakdown. Like I said earlier, this is never shown and the detail of what happens to Mr. Ono makes what is said that much worse.

We know what happens in the end since they end up living in Paris, but it’s what happened in between that makes the ending unsettling.

  • What happened to Mr. Ono?
  • How did they end up in Paris?
  • What happened to Milou?
  • Did any of this happen at all?
  • Were there any repercussions with Romi’s career?

I guess that is up to our interpretation.

I recommend this film just for its unique way of storytelling. The music is excellent, the tones constantly give a sense of uneasiness. Not a lot of people are going to like the film as it does drag in some parts, but you’ll end up feeling some sort of way after watching it.

You can find this film on Mubi (for the time being).

I plan on doing occasional movie reviews in the future. It’s going to be a little bit of everything so be on the lookout.

Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a great day!

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