I watched Yellow Elephant (Blu-ray release 2013-8-2), a movie adaptation of a Japanese novel, due to a mistake. Not having read the novel, I wrongly thought that it would be a fantasy movie, since the protagonist in the movie is a woman who can communicate with animals and plants. In fact it is a movie that explores happiness, loneliness, marriage and love. Her supernatural ability, given by the Yellow Elephant who cured her illness when she was a child, is not critical to the plot of the story in a conventional sense – it is only used to contrast her inability to communicate with her husband, and to express her loneliness. The scenes involving the Yellow Elephant are presented in an interestingly unconventional manner – as crayon paintings done by the author of the novel.
At the beginning, the married couple are seemingly happy and living in the countryside. However, one day the husband receives a mysterious letter, but he does not open it or discuss it with his wife. She immediately senses something is wrong. A large bird is tattooed on the back of her husband but he never explained it. (The large bird is close to the husband, and the Yellow Elephant is close to the wife, but the couple is not really close to each other.) They rarely talk about important things concerning themselves. A hole begins to form in their relationship. Although this is not the type of movie that excites me, I believe those people who love the subjects of this movie, especially happiness and love, may find this slow-paced movie and its portrayal of the character relationships to be good. The characters cry a lot in this movie but this is not a tearjerker.
This movie is full of symbolism, but I only understand some of them: The hole in the relationship is represented by a real hole in an anti-mosquito fabric. The butterfly represents the previous relationship of the husband. The broken glass represents their happiness that gets broken. The bowl represents their love. The Yellow Elephant, representing happiness, is voiced by the husband, meaning that the husband provides her with happiness just like the Yellow Elephant did. I’m not sure why she is afraid of the full moon, perhaps she’s afraid of losing the precious things she got from the full moon?