Travail (2002)

Run Time - 118 min.  |   Countries - Japan  |  
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Kentaro Otani follows up on his critically praised 1998 opus Avec Mon Mari with this airy comedy about the battle between the sexes. The film centers on Asami (Asaka Seto) who is a professional player of shogi (Japanese chess) along with her sister Rina (Mikako Ichikawa). Though married to Kazuya (Shinya Tsukamoto), an elite businessman, and living in a beautiful apartment in a trendy neighborhood of Tokyo, she is suffering one loss after another on the shogi circuit. After a particularly bruising loss, she blames her marriage for her career tailspin. Just then, Rina drops by with her new boyfriend, Hiroki (Jun Murakami), a struggling artist who takes care of all the housework. When Asami sees Rina at the racing track with another guy, it sparks a series of increasingly nasty fights. Meanwhile, Asami, who is facing a humiliating downgrade on her professional rank, is scheduled to face off against her sister in a match that will decide her future.