All posts tagged: Coming-of-Age



Rebellious teens and social rebelliousness have been and are an oft used theme in movies though some of the most memorable works were products of the social unrest of the 60s and 70s, both abroad and in Japan. While a fair degree of such movies are still offered by the independent scene abroad, much of the spirited filmmaking pioneered by such filmmakers as Kurosawa Kiyoshi, Sono Sion, Tsukamoto Shinya, and Ishii Sogo in the late 70s and 80s has all but vanished in Japan. So, when a movie that recaptures much of the feel of those bygone days emerges, not just stylistically but in terms of its content, people take notice. That the director of this movie is a 20-year-old young woman, the youngest ever to participate in the Forum Section of the Berlin International Film Festival, is further cause for excitement. Amiko is the story of a high school girl in a small provincial town who is absolutely convinced the Japanese have lost any sense of spontaneity. But a long conversation with Aomi, a …


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 …


Typhoon Noruda

One of 2016’s buzzwords was Your Name, the animated feature by likely the most recognized independent animation director, Shinkai Makoto. However, a year prior, there was animated feature made by another small animation house called, Colorido. Typhoon Noruda employs techniques similar to Shinkai Makoto, but there is a more youthful and innocent (for lack of a better term) air to the palette and character design. While it can be argued Shinkai’s works are driven by esoteric, adult themes, the works by Colorido are high-concept, yet more straightforward adventures in childhood and/or adolescence. Set on an unspecific outlying island, *Typhoon Noruda*, tells the tale of Azuma and Saijo, two friends since youth bound by their love of baseball. Their relationship is strained when Azuma decides to quit playing. Then Azuma comes upon a strange girl, Noruda, who appears out of nowhere. “When the whirlwind on the ground, the maelstrom in the sky and I are linked as one, this world will be reborn…” At this time, the largest typhoon in recorded history is bearing down on …