All posts tagged: human interaction

I Quit Being Friends Feature Image

I Quit, Being “Friends”

What is common sense to you, makes no sense to me. What is ordinary to me, is off-putting to you Worn out from reading too much into different situations, and unable to get along well with people, that’s Asperger’s syndrome Ma-chan. Having the appearance of understanding, but filled with agony inside, that’s me, the film director. From some petty misunderstandings, our relationship becomes strained, but, is it because of her Asperger’s? Or is it a problem with me? We have to try to understand each other…I have to try to be a good person…Ah, but! In order to stay friends with Ma-chan, I turned the camera on us, and began filming, but the answer I arrived at was, I quit being “friends”. Imamura Ayako shot her self-documentary Start Line to tackle her own frustrations at avoiding personal issues revolving her deafness–namely communication with people–by riding a bicycle across the length of Japan. Here she once again tackles human interaction by documenting her relationship with her friend who has Asperger’s Syndrome. Given Imamura’s own insecurities about her deafness, …

Just the Two of Us Feature Image

Just the Two of Us

Shunsaku suffered a spinal injury in a motorcycle accident and was paralyzed from the neck down at the young age of 36. One day, a blind woman named Hanae arrives to be his caregiver. Though Shusaku’s ill-nature and verbal abuse increasingly frustrates her, Hanae also harbors a tremendous sense of being deprived that she does not express to others. Fujimoto Keita and a staff from the Kyoto University of the Arts brings to life a script which won an honorable mention at the 10th Japan Scenario Awards. The setting of Kyoto’s Nishijin district provides a picturesque backdrop for this “unconventional”–only in that the protagonists happen to be disabled–love story which examines these two people’s frustrations at what they’ve lost. But also portraying the solace they ultimately provide to one another becomes a showcase for how the human spirit can transcend those physical limitations, or the barriers put up by the world around them. Just the Two of Us is being sales repped by Freestone Productions.

Mrs. Noisy Feature Image

Mrs. Noisy

A once successful novelist, Maki (Shinohara Yukiko), moves into a new apartment hoping it’s the change she needs to get herself out of her writing slump. However, every time she seems on the verge of an inspired breakthrough, she is violently interrupted by her neighbor’s furious beating of the futons. Day and night, the incessant thwacking drives Maki past annoyance and well into an all-out rage. She confronts the neighbor, Miwako (Ootaka Yoko), and the seemingly small argument snowballs into a fight that gets caught on camera. The video goes viral on social media, and the two inadvertently get caught up in a media storm. But in the ensuing fallout, Maki gets an idea for a novel. (Japan Foundation) The timing for Amano Chihiro’s movie couldn’t have been more appropriate, hence its success with audiences both on the domestic and international film festival circuit. The story is a simple microcosm the themes of which viewers realize are applicable in various facets of their life and even on a much broader scope. More importantly, it shows how …



Aki and Naoko are childhood friends who are drifting apart as adults. Immersed in her family life, Naoko now has a husband and daughter; Aki, on the other hand, remains single and is on leave from work due to a personal crisis. The plot might sound familiar but it has never been told like this. The director Kusano Natsuka stages the interactions through an actors’ table-read and, as the lines are repeated, the scenes gradually develop into on-location conversations. Moreover, she repositions the dramatic peak of the story to the beginning: Aki has murdered Naoko’s daughter. Structurally inventive, Kusano’s daring cinema implements ‘distantiation’ effects to get to the heart of friendship issues at times when life has settled. While the repetitions convey the suffocation of role patterns in both friendship and family, a line left out or added in unsettles and reminds us life can take unexpected turns. (IFFR 2018) Kusano Natsuka’s Best Director and SKIP City Award-winning debut Antonym is an intriguing character study of a relationship between opposites, of differences that define the other as the …


After the Exhibition

At the closing of his exhibition in the rural city of Mito, local artist Qualia declares “I don’t feel like going home” and loiters around the gallery. His girlfriend and his friends ultimately begin filtering out the door. Then Qualia comes up with an idea. Though shorter than YEAH, at 24 minutes, there is still no less to be digested in Suzuki’s observation about the nature of our interactions with one another depending on the situation. In the case of After the Exhibtion, Qualia–a real-life artist whom Suzuki befriended in Mito–is seen in different lights, when he is at the front of the gallery versus the time he spends in the gallery’s “backyard”. Or in other words, the separation between our public and private selves. Currently, Suzuki is working on his second feature-length, tentatively titled “Abokke” which will also be set in Mito and by all accounts may have already begun shooting.