Tasuku Emoto plays a part-time bookshop employee who falls for one of his co-workers, Sachiko (Shizuka Ishibashi). He seems unfazed by Sachiko’s ongoing relationship with their boss at the bookshop, beginning an affair with her. When Sachiko is introduced to his room-mate Shizuo (Shota Sometani), the three of them begin hanging out together, the lines between friendship and romance becoming increasingly blurred.
Based on the novel by Yasushi Sato, the film was shot on location in Hakodate and the northern city plays a starring role in the film as we follow the characters through late nights and early mornings, the quiet streets, tramlines and telegraph poles a permanent fixture in their lives. While it might be described as a love-triangle, the central tension of the protagonists relationship rarely bubbles to the surface, instead the film delights in subtlety, with stolen glances, or moments of contact left for the audience to decide what the characters are thinking. There is a conflict between the characters’ apparently nonchalant attitutude to romance and each other and the audiences desire to see them express some deeper emotion. The central cast do a great job with these complex characters, believably lackadaisical and directionless young adults, far from the typical romantic heroes of film.
“And Your Bird Can Sing” is a slice-of-life romantic drama that brings us into the world of three lost souls who manage to find a degree of stability through their unconventional relationships with one another. These highly relatable characters with their insecurities and halting attempts at romance are enjoyable to watch, the audience almost being an unseen participant in their lives as Sho Miyake’s intimate direction brings us into the heart of the drama. For the most part the film’s style and tone reflect the ambivalent, carefree attitude of the protagonists, rarely forcing the plot, and instead allowing the characters to simply live and experience the world around them. The film waits until its final moments to give the audience a degree of closure, with the characters finally giving voice to their unspoken feelings. The slow pace and lack of a conventional plot may alienate some, but the film succeeds in creating intriguing protagonists and a believable world lacking the familiar surities of more run-of-the-mill love stories.