Eye On

On the Road to Love

On the Road to Love Feature Image

One day, film director Ishii Tatsuya (now Tatsujo Kuya) began documenting his life, spurred by a phone call he received from Fukuda Mei, his girlfriend of two years who tells him that he’ll someday regret not filming her. When Ishii visits her home with camera in hand the day after the phone call, she had lost her memory of the two years they’d been dating.

Fukada was once admitted to a psychiatric ward after becoming emotionally unstable due to the deterioration of their relationship caused by Ishii constantly recording them. What Ishii’s camera ultimately had captured was the concept of true love through the raw images of Ishii and Fukuda completely laying themselves bare without hesitation or pretension.

Issues of mental health and emotional well-being have been coming to the forefront in recent years. Before then, director Ishii Tatsuya (now Tatsujo) experienced a situation in which his then girlfriend suffered a mental breakdown after their relationship soured, partly perhaps of Ishii constantly documenting them with his camera. How ironic that this footage should then become a portrait of mental well-being and Ishii’s self-examination (auto-documentary?) of the nature of true love through retracing their relationship.

Ishii’s debut feature What A Wonderful World scored the Special Jury Prize and Cinema Fan Award at the 2018 Pia Film Festival, as well as the Kinemeister Award and Award for Best Actor at the Tanabe-Benkei Film Festival, so there is potential for On the Road to Love to be a stirring expose.