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Taking place on the subtropical island of Amami, the story focuses on the interactions between two teenagers – the confident and more desiring Kyoko (Jun Yoshinaga) and the closemouthed, diffident and troubled but rather indifferent Kaito (Nijiro Murakami) – with each other and with their elders.
The slice of life coming of age narrative starts when Kaito, during the full-moon night of traditional dances, discovers a washed up body of a man covered in tattoos. He runs away, while leaving Kyoko – it seems she didn’t saw the body – surprised behind. The next day she expresses her unhappiness to him for not meeting with her as was planned: Kaito doesn’t answer. Kyoko tries to get closer to Kaito and eventually introduces the desire to have sex with him. Kaito once again remains silent only to offer her some moments later a ride straight home.
Apart from the lack of meaningful interactions with Kaito, Kyoko has another imminent change to give place to in her life. Her mother Isa (Miyuki Matsuda), who’s a delicate and beautiful shaman, is dying. Together with her father (Tetta Sugimoto), the owner of a local bar, they try to make her impending passing as joyful as possible. But Kaito, who lives alone with his hard working, divorced mother (Makiko Watanabe), while his father (Jun Murakami), a tattooist, lives in Tokyo –has troubles too. Troubles that seem to concentrate around the following albeit unspoken question of what binds a man to a woman. Will Kaito be able to overcome his current inhibited deadlock? Will he become able to give an answer to Kyoko?
Cannes Film Festival 2014
Nominated Palme d’or: Naomi Kawase
Munich Film Festival 2014
Nominated ARRI/OSRAM Award Best international film: Naomi Kawase
Ghent International Film Festival 2014
Nominated Grand prix Best film
Sakhalin International Film Festival 2014
Won Best actress award: Jun Yoshinaga
Nominated Grand prix: Noami Kawase
Release date: 26 July 2014 (Japan).
Production company: Kumie.
Producers: Takehiko Aoki, Rémi Burah, Naomi Kawase, Masato Konishi, Masanori Miyata, Masahiko Mizuguchi, Luis Miñarro, Yuko Naito, Anne Pernod-Sawada, Olivier Père, Masamichi Sawada, Aki Tokoro, Nobuya Wazaki, Reiji Yamamoto
Cast: Nijirô Murakami, Jun Yoshinaga, Miyuki Matsuda, Tetta Sugimoto, Makiko Watanabe, Jun Murakami, Hideo Sakaki, Sadae Sakae, Kazurô Maeda, Mitsuaki Nakano, Yukiharu Kawabata, Yukiyo Maeda, Kinue Yasuda, Fujio Tokita.
Screenwriter: Naomi Kawase (screenplay).
Director: Naomi Kawase.
Assistant directors: Chiharu Deguchi, Rie Fukushima, Miho Hôjô, Junko Koide, Sayaha Kojima, Yuki Kondo.
Cinematographer: Yutaka Yamazaki.
Editor: Tina Baz, Naomi Kawase.
Sound: Shigetake Ao, Roman Dymny, Olivier Goinard, Osao Hori, Shintarô Kamijô, Takatomo Kojima, Kazuyuki Tokita.
Art direction: Kenji Inoue.