Watching the film based on the Haruki Murakami book ‘Norwegian Wood’, I got fascinated by the architecture, especially by Midori’s apartment. In the film architecture and nature are used to tell part of the story. In the film Watanabe is fascinated by two different girls. The difference between the two girls is underlined by the spaces they inhabit and the nature that Watanabe visits with them. In the book a lot of lines are used to give us an impression of the two girls, but in the film the director doesn’t have the time to do this. So he uses architecture. The first girl, Noaka, inhabits a simple sober space in a clinic in the middle of a great natural environment. The second girl, Midori, lives in a very nice apartment in an urban area. Watanabe takes walks with Noaka in vast impressive natural landscapes, with Midori he visits parks in urban areas and a swimming pool. Noaka is outside of our normal society and Midori is in the middle of our society and Watanabe goes up and down between them.
I love Midori’s apartment. It has elements of a traditional Japanese apartment, but also has a ‘modern’ (the movie plays in the 60’s) touch. It’s a semi-open flowing space. There are different types of wall elements that separate the rooms but also leaves them connected. There are closed wall-pieces, open wall-pieces that are just a frame, wall-pieces with glass and wall pieces with opaque screens. They create all kinds of interesting relations between the different spaces and between outside and inside and all kinds of vistas through the apartment and to the outside. There is a rhythmic pattern of wooden beams, horizontal and vertical. Like music, the rhythm has a basic structure and subdivisions and variations at certain places. The light comes in directly and filtered. It has depth in its beauty. It has an unpretentious simplicity. If it were just for taking a look at Japanes architecture and nature, it’s worth watching the movie.
Images of Midori’s apartment from the film ‘Norwegian Wood’
You van view a trailer of the movie here.