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Fantasia 2018 Review: “Kasane – Beauty and Fate -” (2018) ★★★★★


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What does it take to get on stage? Why is becoming an actor, performer or someone significant is more important than being yourself? Is it the true price to trade yourself to make your biggest dream come true?

Kasane (Kyoko Yoshine) is a daughter of a very famous actress Sukeyo (Rei Dan), who was widely known and appreciated not only for her beauty but for her talent as well. As soon as she would step on stage, the audience knew she would not exist anymore other than the character Sukeyo had to offer. Does it mean it’s Kasane’s time to shine? Perhaps, but having been deformed by a big scar on her face does not allow the young woman to showcase the talent she inherited from her mother. But she finds another way of fulfilling her dream – stepping into the skin of another young actress who’s beautiful but with no talent.

“If you are alone and things get unbearable, use this lipstick and you will become someone else”, Sukeyo gives an advice to her own daughter before passing away. All of a sudden, when things truly go not the way Kasane would expect, a man named Mr. Kabuto, the director, appears before Kasane offering her a deal that both party should gain from. He introduces Kasane to Nina Tamazawa, with exceptional beauty but unhappy that her director wants her to be replaced. When the actress sees Kasane’s deformed face, she could not believe how ugly she was, in fact, attacks her and does everything possible to berate Kasane’s personality. But when Kasane uses the lipstick her mother gave and kisses Nina, they become each other; Nina gets Kasane’s body and Kasane is transformed into Nina.

After a short display of Kasane’s capability, Nina agrees to audition for a lead role in the play “The Seagull” and she actually gets it. The play will be directed by a very promising young director, Rito Ugo, who sees the real Kasane inside of Nina’s body. Bt even though the man does not know much about his lead actress, he notices in her two personalities  – shy outside the stage and brave when it comes to performing. Kasane, in fact, started liking the world she saw through Nina’s eyes – she’s famous, beautiful, desired and everything else she could not really be. And at some point, the woman weighs the damage of her own existence when she agrees to return Nina’s face back. But will she? And if yes, under what terms? That’s the biggest question this film is yet to answer.

“Kasane – Beauty and Fate” is an exceptional psycological  thriller where the fight of ugliness and talent will have to meet in an equal battle. What is more important? Is it the beauty that we have inside or the talent or simplicity our external look might have? Those are the questions that require contemplation throughout and with great care. A subtle performance is delivered by the lead actresses Tao Tsuchiya and Kyoko Yoshine, who literally portray two characters at the same time. Aside from the superbly written and directed film by Yûichi Satô, the two actresses deserve a special award for the shows they had to step into to portray such complex and richly written characters.

The scene from the play of Solema will blow any mind away. Everything you will be seeing at that moment will remind you a bit of “Black Swan”, “Face Off” and even “Cinderella” but a million times better. But overall, “Kasane” is made for very demanding viewers who seek a masterpiece and nothing less than that, and if you are like that, then “Kasane” must be the first film you should see. Because this piece is like nothing else, it will provoke a discussion between beauty, talent and sacrifice. The price of it is too high, but in the world of battle of uncertainty and being locked in a cage, any other option is acceptable, especially when that option is to steal someone’s face.

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