Haruna Tanaka Double-Bill: “Shall We Love You?” and “Kanro  甘露” [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2023]

Haruna Tanaka is a filmmaker whose film presence I became aware of through two fine shorts; Slough (2020), a contemplative and slow-paced story about the loss of a child which hit a few festivals before being featured in a MIRRORLIAR FILMS anthology, and LIFELIKE (2018), a historical drama which played at the 20th Japan Film Fest Hamburg and won the Golden Iris Prize at the Aichi International Women’s Film Festival 2018.

Her latest shorts are featured at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2023 in a special sidebar dedicated to her. For both films, it looks like she worked with the same crew – Koichi Nakajima (DoP), Masahiro Sone (colorist), Reach Minoji (music) etc. – and used similar techniques to capture dialogue driven stories. With well-written scripts and talented performers who deliver their roles with focus, she has two films well worth watching.

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Sekai 世界 (2023) Director: Marina Tsukada [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2023]

Sekai   Sekai Film Image R

世界 Sekai

Release Date: 2023

Duration: 38 mins.

Director: Marina Tsukada

Writer: Marina Tsukada (Screenplay),

Starring: Aki Wakui, Yoomi Tamai, Takeshi Yamamoto, Ryo Ikeda,


Sekai is a small but wondrous film. It does one of the things that films are good at, it gives us the lives of other people. Working as writer, director, and editor, Marina Tsukada gives us two protagonists, ostensibly different, and takes us into their individual worlds and shows their commonalities and helps us relate to them. She achieves this through naturalism and minimalism, using great delicacy to convey everything. 

The people we meet are a shy junior high student named Aki and a musician named Yoomi. Aki’s school life is spent keeping a low profile because of her stutter while her home life is fraught with emotional landmines as she navigates adolescent frustration with her quarrelling parents. Yoomi, on the other hand, is older, independent and lives alone. Her routine takes her between part-time work at a bar and a studio. While working, she talks to salarymen and young up-and-coming musicians. 

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