I Wish – The World

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 5.43.59I Wish is one of those masterpieces, leaving you full of hope and happier than ever at its end. Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda, refilled me with children hope, determination and dreams.
With his sleek, intimate film, he gently and slowly, disarms you, entrusting you to children.

(Real) brothers Kohichi (Kohki Maeda), who’s the oldest, and Ryu (Ohshiro Maeda) are leaving apart from each other, because of separate parents. Kohichi leaves with their mother in Kagoshima and Ryu with their father in Osaka.
The elder dreams of seing his family reunited, he cannot be fully happy because of this, and isn’t understanding how his younger brother is able to have fun and take the whole situation this lightly, while he’s constantly thinking and trying to find a way to reconcile their parents.

Anyway, one day he hears a rumor saying that a new high-speed train is about to get into the rails, and it will meet another train on a double track. Whoever assist to their encounter, and make a wish at that specific time, will see it come true. Starts the journey of Kohichi planning the whole thing with enormous energy and determination, boarding his friends with him, and his brother (who will also take his friends along with him).

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 1.03.22The director takes us into the very intimacy of families, we enter a community or two communities actually, Kagoshima’s and Osaka’s. With a beautiful dreamy soundtrack, and a sleek photography, we wander between habits of our characters and the beautiful landscapes they live in; the Sakurajima volcano of Kagoshima and the multiple city lights of Osaka.

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 9.37.30 Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 9.51.05However, we are primarily seing the events from Kohichi’s point of view, and experience the same things. Our little guy is feeling trapped into this broken family, desperately trying fit two pieces of the destroyed puzzle of his life. And he doesn’t understand why people are still living in this town with this big threat that the volcano represents, along with its ashes brought by the wind, symbolizing the rests of his destroyed home. He doesn’t understand a multitude things, and give it a lot of thoughts.

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 10.11.13Koreeda is using in his movie various opposed shots, jumping from an open space to a closed space and vice versa, in order to highlight the differences between expectations and dreams of Kagoshima’s and Osaka’s population, professionally speaking. For example, Kenji (Joe Odagiri) the father of the two boys, is hoping for a rockstar career, and Ryu’s friend Megumi (Kyara Uchida) wants to become an actress, whereas, Kohichi’s friends Yu (Ryoga Hayashi) and Shin (Hosinosuke Nagayosi) dreams of marrying the same teacher.

A beautiful scene shows this gap; Kohichi calls his father from his small balcony, and at this moment, Kenji was heading home, and was walking along a river. Closed spaces/open spaces.

But at the end, I Wish gives us a life lesson; better to choose the world, as it is. It is better to manage things as they are, and not trying to fix an irrecoverable thing. And doesn’t people say: out of the mouth of children comes the truth?

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Atonement – A reconciliation with loss.

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I dedicated my afternoon watching 5 episodes (75min each), of a japanese TV series.

Shokuzai, which biblically speaking, refers to God’s forgiveness was directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Cult, Bright Future), an adept of japanese horror genre, who took a step down, and adapted this novel written by Kanae Minato, into a TV drama.

In a nutshell, the story is about a five little girls who, one day were in a playground, when a man came and ask one them to help him fix a fan (how the hell a 10 years old girl is supposed to help with those things?!). She followed him, but was gone for too long, that’s why her friend went to check on her and found her dead body.

But the story is especially about a mother, who will never forgive children from refusing to help arrests the one who took away her daughter, and the consequences of that tragic event.

Kurosawa structured his episodes just like chapters of a book; the four first focusing on each girl and what they become 15 years later. They appeared to me powerful and captivating. We are entering their lives, and observing their evolution knowing their similar trauma, and the different effects it had on them depending on their environment.

Kyôko Koizumi, performing the mother named Asako Adachi, exudes a palpable coldness, so attractive, that you admire her, despite her questionable behavior towards the girls. She imposes herself as their tormentor, and required from them, to pay for playing mute during the investigation of the murder of her daughter, Emiri. Her anger provide her a partial control of herself, hiding some dark side and insanity.

The whole drama shows how one event can have different effects on the people experiencing it. It shows the hardness of loosing a friend, a child; the hardness of feeling guilty, and how trauma on children leads to a dysfunction in the mental system.

The atonement, is therefore, not about receiving the forgiveness of a mother they betrayed against their will, but about reconciliation with the guiltiness they were feeling the whole time and the perpetual seek of freedom.

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Shokuzai, is a great piece of work, that shows indirectly the japanese state of mind in the 70’s and which exposes a bunch of values and psychological portraits interesting to learn about.

The human psychology is big sea, and you’ll never know what fishes you will catch.