All posts tagged: child abuse

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Through a Theater Darkly

The role of media in society has changed significantly over the last several years. It’s becoming more difficult to tell if media influences the masses or if the masses influence the media. Ogata Takaomi was becoming aware of this blurring of lines between sensationalism and journalism almost a decade ago. An avid lover of cinema since childhood, the Fukuoka native speaks of movies with an eager grin and a mild manner which belie the movies he has made. At the age of 25, he left the startup-up he founded as a partner and traveled abroad extensively. It was then he began to see the only way of life and society he knew in an entirely different light. His filmography is a gallery of thought-provoking studies intended to shed light on the biases instilled by society and the media in all of us. Ogata’s filmmaking is likely best described by the old adage “walk a mile in another man’s moccasins”. Having once aspired to journalism, he is unwavering in his dedication to steer his stories away …

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Innocent 15

Kai Hirokazu’s feature-length debut, Innocent 15, first came to my attention through its poster (below). A simple, photographic image of a young girl apparently sitting on a young boy’s lap, his face advancing on her’s, perhaps a first kiss, though somewhat unwillingly. It’s a moment simultaneously capturing youthful innocence as well as its loss. The mid-teens are turbulent time for most. The struggle to be “grown up” while still being treated as a “child” creates inner conflicts which often manifest in what adults regard as “rebellion”. However, on occasion, outside elements force youth to grow up which is the theme of Kai’s movie. As he explains why the movie is titled Innocent 15 at the Raindance Film Festival (paraphrasing): “The two 15-year-olds are in one sense ‘pure and unspoiled.’ But the world isn’t like that. There are horrible situations in this world like those depicted in the movie–no, worse probably exist–yet because they’re still ‘unworldly,’ such things are like scenery blurring by in a car window; they’re irrelavant to them. But slowly, the harsh world …

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Innocent Prayer

“Kill ’em all. I hope he kills everyone.” The tagline for Kamei Toru’s independent movie, Innocent Prayer, based on Hirayama Yumeaki’s short story collection, certainly isn’t mincing words. Only more shocking than the  request itself is the young heart and mind uttering it. Child-abuse and bullying are subject matters often dealt with in movies through varied ways, from over-the-top fantasies of heroism to grave calls to attention for previously unknown injustices. Revenge, of course, is one of the genres employed to achieve an effect, both in fiction and sadly, in real life. With Innocent Prayer, however, there is an interesting wrinkle which deserves notice. A 10-year-old girl, Fumi, is subjected to vicious bullying at school. Even at home, the daily abuse inflicted on her by her step-father worsening day by day, while her mother, seeking a spiritual solace from her husband’s abuse, is sinking deeper into a new religion. With no place for respite nor anyone to help her, Fumi’s endless despair is never-ending. Until one day, she learns of a series of murders occurring …