Noticias Festival
“Extracting beauty from everyday life” review ‘All the long nights” by Shô Miyake

Two years ago, exactly, Japanese director Shô Miyake visited Cinema Jove with his debut feature, ‘Small, Slow But Steady’. The film, considered by international critics to be the Japanese film of that year, introduced us to Keiko, a deaf woman who joins an old gym to start a late career in the world of boxing.

Already in that first film, Miyake left evidence of the axes by which he was going to direct his cinema: a delicate construction of characters, a simple but deeply emotional story, and a camera that displayed an entire poetics from the discretion of those who feel so self-assured that allow themselves the luxury of setting in a discreet place… to observe.

In 2024 Shô Miyake has returned to the festival circuit with his second feature film after having been selected in festivals such as the Berlinale with great success, where all his three screenings were sold out.

‘All the Long Nights’ (‘Yoake no subete’, in its original title) introduces us to Misa, a woman who suffers from premenstrual syndrome, a circumstance that causes unexpected attacks of anger, which makes her work and personal relationships difficult until the extreme that it prevents her from leading a normal life. One day, Misa meets Takatoshi, a shy man who has started working at the same educational toy company as her. Like so many times in the past, Misa ends up having a confrontation with the discreet Takatoshi during one of her crises. Misa feels guilty, especially when she discovers that Takatoshi is also a victim of another illness, suffering from frequent panic attacks.

On this occasion, Shô Miyake adapts the novel of the same name by the writer Maiko Seo as a basis to invite us to reflect on loneliness and the way we relate to each other in contemporary post-industrial societies. Little by little, as the story progresses, the viewer will discover that the illnesses suffered by our protagonists, more than an impediment, are ultimately a kind of mask behind which Misa and Takatoshi hide their fears and insecurities from their companions and acquaintances.

And don’t we all do the same thing? In the era of social networks, face-to-face, body-to-body, open-grave contact, placing our feelings before others, has become one of the greatest challenges for the modern subject. Misa and Takatoshi will have to break the psychological barriers they have placed in front of others, but, above all, before and against themselves. In the contrast and sharing of both universes, they will find their way out.

Shô Miyake addresses these questions with scrupulous delicacy, without avoiding contradictions, but, above all, without a moralistic or instructive spirit. In his cinema, it is the images and situations themselves that guide the viewer on an emotional journey in which, in some way, they are as exposed as the characters themselves. With ‘All the Long Nights’, Miyake makes us a proposal where the plot is presented, perhaps even lighter than in his previous film. What matters here are the small gestures, the looks, the reactions to the constant challenges that the characters throw at each other.

But, above all, this film is sustained by that tone of intimacy that takes on as the narrative develops, in that trust and complicity that will be established between what is shown on the screen and the audience.

And then there is the other part, the form. Here we also find some differences with respect to his previous work. If ‘Keiko’s Combat’ took place in many sequences at night, ‘All the Long Nights’ takes place, to a large extent, during the day, which excuses the Japanese director from resorting more frequently to certain chiaroscuro games. But that is not an impediment, however, for Miyake to show off a great talent for composition and the use of photography, while showing off an internal tempo in the sequences that may surprise many, due to its unusual nature. As we said before, his camera does not analyze, but rather observes reality with an eye attentive to the details, to those objects and subjects that contain, by themselves, the meaning of an entire world.

With these tools and premises, Shô Miyake achieves in ‘All the Long Nights’ something that only a few directors seem capable of: extracting beauty from everyday life. No more no less.


By Gerardo León (selector of the Official Cinema Jove Feature Film Section).