All posts tagged: Family

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The Adventuress Spirit

The poster for Nishikawa Fumie’s The Azemichi Road depicts a young girl in school uniform captured ecstatically jumping mid-air on a country dirt road. It’s a pastoral image processed to resemble a painting that invites the viewer to speculate the story within. Though a poster is no means representative of the movie itself, in this case, the image does give insight into the Tokyo native. Nishikawa loved to draw manga and write stories in elementary school. She was studying to pursue that path when her eyes were opened to the wonder of movies during high school. Her ambition shifted from illustrating a picture to telling the story within it; to bring that image to life. It’s a fundamental component of her craft apparent in her graduate thesis at London College of Communication where she went after high school to study film & video production. Nishikawa wrote, shot, and produced While You Sleep. With its evocative title and simple premise of a teen awakening to family realities when her mother falls into a deep coma, the …

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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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The Sower

For independent filmmakers, shooting a family drama has the added benefit of a low production cost. However, the story and script must then be the primary value of the movie, and this is where wheat is separated from the chaff. Takeuchi Yosuke’s The Sower seems to have all the qualities to set it apart from most others. It’s theme of redemption and renewal may be representative of the genre, but the journey on which Takeuchi takes the characters is both special and emotionally impactful. A man afflicted with the mental and emotional grief of working in the disaster stricken areas of the Great East Japan Earthquake is released from a mental hospital after three years and is warmly welcomed back by his brother and his sister-in-law, who have two children; two girls, one with down syndrome. When the man agrees to take the two children to an amusement park, a tragic accident occurs which tears apart the family. A lie begets another lie while sorrow and anguish brings to the fore long held, deeply held …