The 100 Best Contemporary Japanese Movies - Psycho Drama has launched an ambitious project to compile 100 of the best modern-day Japanese movies from the last 2 decades or so. Featuring the best young actors of their generation - from Joe Odagiri, Takako Matsu and Tadanobu Asano, to Satoshi Tsumabuki, Hikari Mitsushima, Mao Inoue, Ryuhei Matsuda, Shun Oguri and Masanabu Ando to the current crop of exciting young talents - Shota Sometani, Yuya Yagira, Kamiki Ryunosuke, Sosuke Ikematsu, Kento Yamazaki, Fumi Nikaido and Ai Hashimoto. [ click here ]
A story about life, love, dreams and hopes. Sae (Yui Aragaki) is a dedicated high school student seriously studying for a college entrance exam and while riding the train, accidentally met Kouhei (Toma Ikuta), a family oriented guy who attends a school about fishery. Hurrying to school for their exams, the train got derailed and they tried to travel by other means which ended in an accident. It was a bad start for both, but they managed to somehow overcome the initial tragedy. They began to develop a strong friendship, until finally Kohei becomes Sae’s boyfriend.
After Sae passed her exam, she needs to go to Hokkaido, Japan to pursue her studies. Even if Kohei loves her, he doesn’t want Sae to leave but kept his feelings to himself.
Through the test of time, they tried to have a long distance relationship. They faced many challenges far from each other and their bond was tested. Unluckily they failed to maintain their relationship and decided to have their own separate ways..
Several years later, destiny beckons and just like the sakura seed that was planted by Sae’s father, love grows and blooms ever more.
Will a miracle happen?
The introduction is very simple, yet it captivates the audience. Different sceneries were shown which are refreshing to look at since it does not focus on one specific setting.
The story itself is a combination of romance, drama and comedy. Most of the situations and actions were convincing since it can happen in reality. The way the main characters were dressed was appropriate, it really brought out the best in them and the way they delivered their lines and expressions were felt by heart. Sae’s hairstyle is simple and so common among Japanese girls. However, after moving to Tokyo, her character and beauty evolved into something new- more sophisticated, more beautiful but still simple, since she adapted to the more modern lifestyle. Additionally the makeup of every character is light. I found it nice and appropriate for the genre of the story.
One thing I don’t like about the story: the ending is a bit predictable. The story line is really good but the ending is so plain. I want it more intense and remarkable, somewhat like people will remember it and will have a big impact in their lives.
Most captivating scene was when the sakura flowers were falling at night and both the main characters feelings burst out without even saying a word.
A fact seen in the story: no matter how a man loves a woman, there’s always the issue of insecurities that will be felt along the way. Communication is one of the most important factors to consider in a relationship and this is highlighted in the story. I also love the emphasis on the sakura tree since it symbolizes a father’s love— that no matter what happens, he will always be there.
Another highlight found in the storyline was the thought that life offers many interesting situations; it could be negative too but It’s okay to be sad, lonely and depressed; we just have to take another step then move forward like what Kohei did after his father died from a heart attack. Understanding feelings is important and giving up someone’s dreams is not easy. Experiencing these things are difficult but we need to hang on and move on and remember that “We have only one life to live, we must live it well”,
Overall, the story is well written and the entire production is commendable. It is the acting of the lead characters that made this more than just a simple movie about love.
“When I felt lost in my life, he enlightened my way”
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Have you seen Hanamizuki? What can you say about the performance of the actors? Let us know what you think!
In partnership with Coventry University and Third Window Films, East Winds will be celebrating East Asian film and culture through a selection of 11 International, European and UK Premieres from Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Thailand, ranging from star-studded action blockbusters and chilling horrors to touching dramas and delightful comedies.
Alongside some pretty major titles such as the European Premieres of 'Partners in Crime', 'Z Storm', 'Record of Sweet Murder' and 'Teacher's Diary' (Thailand's Oscar submission) there are also many other UK premieres and 2 new Third Window genre titles: 'Greatful Dead' and 'The Lust of Angels' which will play.
More details at the Film Festival website
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