Beatles geeks, Occupy populists and postmodern fiction nerds should merge sweetly, and sourly, in Norwegian Wood, director Tran Anh Hung’s adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s 1987 novel.
It’s a windswept tone poem to Japan’s turbulent but liberating ’60s, set to a hypnotic score from Radiohead’s innovative guitarist Jonny Greenwood, which meshes quite magically in the trailer below with John Lennon’s coded ode to desire and detachment.
Inspired by the jangle of Bob Dylan, the Rubber Soul song “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” is a cinematic blessing in these days of faltering Beatles cover songs in film.
It’s also the sense-memory trigger for Murakami’s postmodern romance of shocked-and-awed young lovers — including Death Note‘s Kenichi Matsuyama and Babel‘s Oscar-nominated Rinko Kikuchi — trying to combine the personal and the political in a time of sex and suicide.
But the song is a nanoblast compared to the magic realist Murakami’s novel and Tran’s meditative movie remix, whose striking visuals (from In the Mood for Love cinematographer Mark Lee Ping Bin) set the film’s slow-mo pace.