When we heard a feature film shot in Japan titled some blood would play at Sundance, ridiculous J-horror images like Label (2015) comes to mind. This some blood (yes, lowercase b), however, is the opposite of these, giving Sundancers a pleasant experience, a bit of quietude, and a more natural feel.
During the Q&A session, director Bradley Rust Gray told viewers some blood actually got her title from a dream that the actress who was originally destined for her starring role told her about. Gray said he liked the sound of the word and thought of it in terms of how someone might view a song title, which doesn’t necessarily have to relate to the content of the work.
Given that dreams are central to the film, it also feels right after hearing this story.
Chloé (Carla Juri), grieving the death of her husband Peter (Gustaf Skarsgård), comes to Japan to photograph people engaged in their passions, from lobster fishing to repairing broken pottery. She travels everywhere, by land, by water, in restaurants and even on a volcano. Japanophiles and all those who have a desire to travel can revel in the tourist sites. Chloe shares the journey with others, including dance teacher Chieko (Chieko Ito); insightful but sometimes goofy translator Yatsuro (Issei Ogata); her husband’s scruffy-haired friend, Toshi (Takashi Ueno); Toshi’s mother and daughter, who have Down syndrome and Futaba “Fu-chan” (Futaba Okazaki) who is adorable and provides some much needed levity.
A potential romance blossoms between Chloe and Toshi, who provides her with accommodation during her trip. Peter comes and goes throughout the film through flashbacks, much like Chloe’s grief over him. We also enter Chloe’s dreams, revealing her thoughts about Toshi. The transitions between the present, the past and his dreams are almost seamless. Scenes with Peter were shot in Iceland, providing a contrast between present and past through the landscape.
Unfortunately, we don’t find many answers to some obvious questions that arise. some blood gives us information about Chloe and others by slice, never the whole pie.
The natural feel is partly due to what Juri called the “invisible camera” during the Q&A. Often the camera was working away from the actors, and sometimes Juri didn’t even notice it was rolling. Instead of Gray directing the actors on where to move, the camera followed them.
The scenes at Toshi’s house actually take place in Ueno’s house.
Asked in the Q&A about his experience in the film, Ueno said, “It was like a dream for me.”
Read all of salt lake magazines Sundance 2022 reviews.