Directed by Nobou Nakagawa, ‘Dissociating Vulnerability’ is a feature length drama that stars Yuki Yamazaki, Kazane Nishimura and Keiju Takahata. Written by Keiji Kobori, the film revolves around a young woman who starts seeing her dead mother everywhere she goes. As the boundary between reality and fantasy blurs, secrets will be revealed, which will turn the protagonist’s world upside down.


The drama’s heavy narrative contains several emotional performances, each of which deserve varying levels of praise. It is clear that the actors are great and they bring to life the script with much depth and zest. Director Nobou Nakagawa keeps the whole story short at a brisk 55 minutes and therefore, there are some plot points that aren’t as fleshed out as they should be. Nevertheless, the narrative works fine and for a film that is shorter than an hour, this might be a blessing in disguise. Nobou Nakagawa is also the cinematographer for this production and the way he uses colour to convey emotions shows his prowess for weaving story with impactful visuals. In addition, the unnerving atmosphere that hovers over the entire story is a character in itself. Every ghost story needs to convey the tension perfectly and here, the sound mixing and sound editing team deserve special accolades for transporting the viewers right inside the reality bending story.


Perhaps the most fascinating thing about the film is that it has a post credits scene. As soon as the credits end, we dive right back into the story and this minute long epilogue actually turns the ending around completely. The post credits scene is thus Nakagawa’s way of expanding the story further and ensuring that audiences are left with something to think about. The 55 minute film therefore has a lot to unpack; filled to the brim with symbolism, hints and easter eggs, ‘Dissociating Vulnerability’ is a well made story that succeeds in more ways than one.


It was very easy for the film to fall into campy territory if the guiding hand, in this case the director, chose to experiment with the genre. Thankfully, no such thing happens here and what we get is a well made, unnerving little character drama that happens to have a dead person in it. Eerie and disturbing, ‘Dissociating Vulnerability’ is a powerhouse of emotional performances and good old fashioned drama. Nakagawa has formulated a very emotional film, one that has both heart and soul. Overall, the film turns out to be a great labour of love.