Time zones are a funny thing. Right now, it is the opening day of the Tokyo International Film Festival. Except today is tomorrow. Because in Japan the clocks are half a day ahead of Canada. Welcome to the future – a day early, depending if you are reading this from Canada, Japan or anywhere else around the globe!
Despite the difference with JST (Japan Standard Time), Cinetalk will be doing our best to showcase the best of the fest, early enough that if any readers want to hop a plane to Tokyo on a day or two’s notice, you’ll have advance warning about that great film you desperately want to see.
To start things off – behold! Our first peek at the festival is via Hikari’s 37 Seconds.
Amid the bustle of train and homosapien traffic in metropolitan Tokyo there is a girl making her way through the crowds in a wheelchair. Largely invisible, she goes about her daily tasks as anyone else would. With some variations on a theme. Yuma lives with her overbearing mother in Hikari’s 37 Seconds. Yuma has Cerebral Palsy. She is also a fantastic artist and aspires to be a mangaka.
The poignant story brings Yuma to places that would give her mom a conniption. Hikari has managed to avoid expected cliches. Yuma is not a weak protagonist who lets things just happen around her. Neither is she glorified as some sort of superhuman who happens to have a disability.
Dating, sexuality and self growth are all tackled with tact and humor. Sometimes looking to our roots, our past, even our family’s past can make our current situation a lot more logical. Hikari cast non-professional actress Mei Kayama as Yuma. Kayama does an excellent job portraying both Yuma’s excitement about life and her disillusionment with it.
Yuma is a late bloomer, finding her path, and doing it her own way. She is no stereotyped superhero on wheels. She is not achieving miracles, but instead small progress in getting to know herself and the world she lives in. Her journey toward self awareness pulls her away from her mum, but in the end brings the duo closer through knowledge.
TOHO Cinemas, Roppongi Hills, 10:15 PM, October 29th, 2019 (Please note, screening times are in Japan Standard Time).
Tokyo International Film Festival: https://2019.tiff-jp.net/en