Every year, the Osaka Asian Film Festival shines a special light on a promising directorial talent. This year, the honour befalls Haruna Tanaka. As part of this special focus, two of her short films, Kanro (2023) and Shall We Love You? (2022) are screened at the Nakanoshima museum of Art in Osaka.
Daigo (Keigo Ota) is puzzled by the sudden visit by his younger brother Soma (Ippei Tanaka). Why does he, who did to even show up for his grandfather’s funeral, want to meet at his old candy shop?
His prolonged absence has obviously created an emotional distance between them, but that does not stop them to start reminiscing about their shared past and the meaning of a long forgotten orange jelly called kanro. As the conversation unfolds, it becomes evident that Soma is searching for something. Then, when Soma starts searching the premises, Daigo receives a rather strange call.
Kanro can best be described as an experimental short that playfully visualizes the subject’s desire to bridge the distance that has come into existence between him and the familial other. It is, despite a very short runtime, a wholesome narrative that shows, via a surprising twist, that a shared imaginary past is an important prerequisite to fuel the feeling of belonging and undo the distance that haunts the weakened social bond.
The composition of Kanro excels in its simplicity – a static one-cut from start to finish. Yet, it is evident that Ito choose this simplicity to emphasize the core-element of the narrative: the way the conversation between two brothers, who meet each other in the family’s candy store after a long time, unfolds.
By utilizing only one cut, Tanaka grants her performers the time and space to breathe life into the rhythm of their conversation and, hereby, create the feeling that the presented fiction is actually real, a visual document.
Kanro is a simple but effective short that explores inter-subjective distance and the desire to bridge it in a surprising and satisfying way. This short proves, once more, that Tanaka fully grasp the importance of the signifier and the way it, within the rhythm of the conversation, succeeds in (emotionally) touching the subject.