20 years ago the town of Yumetoi was completely enclosed by the mysterious phenomenon known as “Zon”. There were people who impulsively went outside the Zon, but not a single one has ever returned. Now, no one in town would venture beyond the Zon. In a bar where several townspeople gather such as the bar’s proprietor Tsunemoto Michiko. waitress Karino Akira, seminar organizer Ninomiya Kenji, “post-Zon generation” youths Hazama Ippo and Ando Remi among others, the complex relationships of the townspeople unfold. Meanwhile, Hazama and Ando, who have never known the world outside of town from the day they were born, look at the Zon and ponder if anything still exists beyond it. One day, a strange VHS tape from outside the Zon reaches Nagare Kantaro who lives at the very edge of town. Hazama believes it is definitely some message from beyond the Zon and he begins to become captivated by the world beyond the Zon’s periphery.
Originally shot in 2014 through the Film School of Tokyo, Suzuki Takuji’s film finally saw theatrical release in August of 2018. Much of the time involved the “Zon” effects which is both digitally integrated, but also refreshingly artful (dare I say “analog”) in appearance utilizing an old technique of “film graffiti” through which photographic film is subjected to scratches, dyes, washes, etc. The movie was brought to my attention by Film School of Tokyo alum and Lust of Angels director Isogai Nagisa who served as an assistant to Suzuki who seems to have a knack for unconventional sci-fi stories such as 2016’s Jogging Wataridori.
Though filmed 5 years go–conceived of a year before–its theme of people resigned to live within a barrier even to the point of fearing both what is going on beyond or to venture outside to find out is quite timely in 2019 when walls, invisible or “to-be-constructed”, are seemingly dividing the world further.