High-school boy Takahashi Yuta is effectively bringing himself up alone. His father is long gone and his mother is constantly off on trips; she leaves him notes and modest amounts of cash to keep himself fed. Not surpr...展开isingly, he’s a bit of a loner at school. But he’s fascinated by (identifies with?) the vagrant man who sleeps in a road tunnel near his home, and when that man is killed – apparently by a gang of local delinquents – he sets off on a quest to find the dead man’s family and friends, following clues in the man’s bag. For Yuta, this becomes a formative lesson in the ways of the adult world, taking him far beyond the teenage obsessions of his noisy classmates.
This debut feature from Hirohara Satoru (still only 23 himself) offers a very fresh take on the rite-of-passage theme; there’s not a cliché in sight. The writing, acting and cinematography are all well up to pro standards, but what makes the film truly exceptional is the controlled beauty of its mise en scène. A great future awaits this young writer-director. —VIFF