The latest film from the director of Linda, Linda, Linda is seriously charming, a wryly affectionate not-quite-coming-of-age tale set in a tiny country school.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2008
The new film from Yamashita Nobuhiro (Linda, Linda, Linda) is seriously charming, a wryly observant not-quite-coming-of-age tale based on a popular graphic novel for girls. The arrival of cool city-boy Hiromi at a country school is the breeze in question: his presence proves especially stirring for Soyo, hitherto the oldest child in town, trusted and indispensable older sister figure to the other five. As Soyo's composure is thrown, each member of her tiny community is gently discombobulated too. The miraculously unspoiled country village is filmed so gorgeously and set out with such exactness that it seems both actual and idealised childhood paradise at once. Yamashita merges a pop sensibility with a classic Japanese aesthetic: fleeting emotions and sensations are rendered bright and limpid. This is a romance that runs sweetly - and credibly - contrary to the dictates of movie formula. To be savoured with a grin. — BG
"It is Yamashita's gentle-spirited celebration of the sort of slow-paced, human-centered childhood and youth that may be familiar to generations past, but is becoming a rarity in today's hyper, wired Japan, where teens source more friends online than in the flesh... Yamashita is deepening our understanding of his characters, as he tells their story with unforced charm... adding bits of funny or insightful business to every shot, but with a fresh sensitivity to the beauty of his setting. Rural Shimane looks idyllically untouched and empty, with nary a phone pole or convenience store in sight. Does this world really exist? Yamashita makes me want to believe it does." — Mark Schilling, Japan Times