I have been reviewing films for V-Cinema but when it came to Japan Cuts I had a car-crash moment when my computer suffered a breakdown during a teaching course. Problem solved but two months late, here’s the review… and I’m publishing it from Japan…
Running Time: 85 mins.
Director: Daichi Sugimoto
Writer: Daichi Sugimoto (Screenplay)
Starring: Daichi Sugimoto, Yuta Katsukura, Rika Sugimoto,
A Road is the debut feature-length film directed, produced by and starring Daichi Sugimoto. He is a young tyro still at university but already making a name for himself based on this film which has toured major international film festivals such as Berlin and Japan Cuts and it has won major awards such as the 2015 PIA Film Festival’s Grand Prize. Taking inspiration from his own life Sugimoto has made what is essentially a mixture of documentary and drama, asking the questions of at what point on the road to adulthood do we stop trembling with excitement at the prospect of the mundane things and greet the world with a sigh of indifference and is this change in feelings inevitable?
These are some of the themes gently probed by Sugimoto who opens proceedings rather strikingly with a home movie shot by and featuring a younger version of himself. We see Sugimoto as a young boy enthusiastically telling us about his hunt for lizards in his garden. His face crowds the screen as he meticulously recounts observations he has made while speaking in a breathless semi-serious scientific way. It is hard not to be charmed by this youthful exuberance and the mismatch of the age of the person and spoken register. This makes the leap from boyhood to manhood striking as we encounter Daichi again in the present.
Here’s a link to the review of film and here’s the trailer: