(out of 5)
On a gorgeous tropical island in the Pacific, a boy is being raised by his single mother after being sent there from Tokyo by his father, while his friend is dealing with her mother’s terminal illness. They live under the shadow of a situation at the beginning of the film when a dead body is discovered on the beach, making them both question the nature of things and the purpose of life at the same time that they are on the brink of adulthood and sexual awakening. Director Naomi Kawase brought this film to the Cannes film festival announcing herself prepared to take home the Palme D’Or for what she considered her finest work, and that kind of over-determination is problematic in the film itself. Big, sweeping themes are beautifully detailed by the photography and romantic, affecting images of crashing waves and wide expanses of sea, but Kawase’s plotting is obscure and her characters never exist as more than types, making the details uninspiring to sit through.
Directed by Naomi Kawase
Screenplay by Naomi Kawase
Cinematography by Yutaka Yamazaki
Music by Hashiken
Production Design by Kenji Inoue
Film Editing by Tina Baz, Naomi Kawase