Memory & Desire DVD

Memory & Desire - 1997

Frame Up Films Production - 90 min.

DVD UPC/EAN # 9418212009239

Cast: Yuri Kinugawa, Eugene Nomura, Yoko Narahashi, Brenda Kendall.
Screenplay: Niki Caro, based on a story by Peter Wells; Photography: Dion Beebe; Music: Peter Scholes; Editor: Margot Francis; Production Design: Grant Major; Producer: Owen Hughes; Director: Niki Caro.

Sayo and Keiji elope to New Zealand to get away from Keiji's interfering mother. On their honeymoon they are free to express all their desires and passions, but just when it should be their happiest times, Keiji cannot make love and is accidentally drowned. As tradition dictates, Sayo must return to live with her mother-in-law. However, Sayo can only find a modicum of peace by returning to the New Zealand beach where Keiji drowned. Interesting sets and music, but a somewhat muddled screenplay. Also a bit odd to have the Japanese charactors speaking English, in the Tokyo scenes. Probably will not appeal to all tastes, but a nice first feature by Niki Caro.

Censor rating: R16 - Review rating: C+

Memory & Desire
Official MP4 Trailer


Used PAL VHS copies may be located for about $10nz. There is an R2 PAL DVD from Spain, seen selling for about 15eur. The dvd is presented 1.80:1 with 2.0 digital stereo audio. There are no extras. It has both an English and Spanish language track, plus optional Spanish subtitles. No known NTSC copies in either vhs or dvd.

As of 15 November 2009, it is available on R0 PAL dvd in New Zealand for under $15nz. It is only in English and has no subtitles or extras. It is presented in its original 1.85:1 format with 2.0 dolby stereo. As of 15 October 2017, it would appear that this OOP title is no longer available from any resellers.

Aro Video of Wellington

Mighty Ape of Auckland


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Eye For Film - Review

"Stunningly shot, but emotionally contrived to the point of exasperation, Memory and Desire is a beautiful, empty artefact [...] Even if one can get past the convention of all the Japanese characters speaking to one another in English, there's no getting past some of the fulsome, unnatural dialogue and the fact that Kinugawa cannot act convincingly in the language [...] Lenser Dion Beebe and composer Peter Scholes wrap the slim story in gorgeous visual and musical packaging. But their work finds decreasing echoes in the script and performances, and serves only to heighten the cliches from which the movie is built..." - (Variety, May 21, 1998)

"[Niki] Caro adeptly uses landscape as metaphor: in overbearing Tokyo, the couple's manner is self-conscious and clipped; in wide New Zealand their passions ignite with troubled freedom. There are hackneyed moments, as when Sayo kisses a train window, but the actors' candour and the beauty of cinematographer Dion Beebe's seascapes carry the film through to its strange and dark conclusion" - (Simon Robinson, "Twisted Kisses", Time, September 28, 1998)


Illusions, no.28(autumn 1999)
New Zealand herald, Sept.12, 1998
Sight and sound, v.10, issue 11(Nov)
Sunday star-times, Sept.20, 1998


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1999 - Nokia New Zealand Film Awards
Best Film
Special Jury Prize for Niki Caro
Best Overseas Actor to Yuri Kinugawa
Best Production Design to Grant Major

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