[ Directed by ]
[ Produced by ]
[ Cast ]
• OSAWA Takao Koichiro
• ISHIHARA Satomi Wakako
• MAKI Yoko Takako
[ Staff ]
• Original Story: SADA Masashi
• Screenplay: SAITO Hiroshi
• Theme Song: SADA Masashi
• Music: ENDO Koji
• Cinematography: KITA Nobuyasu
[ Production Company ]
“T.L.S.I.T.W” FILM PARTNERS
[ Distributor (Japan) ]
Release Date: March 14, 2015
Running Time: 139 min
Genre: Drama, Feature
Screening Format: DCP,HDCAM
Screen Size: Cinema Scope (1:2.35)
Screening Format with Subtitles
[ Story ]
Miike Takashi, whose work is eagerly anticipated both at home and abroad, directs this adaptation of a story by Sada Masashi about a Japanese doctor practicing medicine in Kenya. Osawa Takao, who joined the production when it was first being devised, gives a fully committed performance as the protagonist who treats child soldiers with deep emotional scars.
Koichiro (Osawa) leaves his girlfriend Takako (Maki Yoko) behind in Japan to work as a doctor in Kenya. There he meets a nurse named Wakako (Ishihara Satomi). The two of come into contact with numerous child soldiers, orphaned after their families are murdered, who are injected with narcotics before being deployed in battle.
[ Official Site ]
Shimada Kōichirō (Osawa Takao), a young Japanese doctor known for his joviality, works at the Nagasaki University Hospital. In 1987 he was sent to a research and medical assistance center in Kenya. Kōichirō, who had decided to become a doctor by reading the biography of Albert Schweitzer, is happy to leave. She asks Takako (Maki Yōko) to join him as a life partner and to leave together but at the last minute she renounces to take the place of her father, a doctor who was taken to a remote island in the south of Japan.
When he arrived in Kenya, Kōichirō burst with excitement from all the pores but when he was sent to a Red Cross hospital for the war wounded for a month he clashed with a tragic reality. After the initial shock, he returns to the research center and even asks to return to the Red Cross hospital, where he begins to work for the many children who are victims of shootings and explosions. To help the medical team comes then Wakako (Ishihara Satomi), an experienced Japanese nurse, with whom, after some initial confrontation, Koichiro establishes a relationship of mutual respect.
One day he was taken to the Ndung’u hospital, a child soldier, with gunshot wounds and signs of drug use. Ndung’u has seen massacring his family and does not communicate with anyone. Slowly Koichiro breaks through the wounds of Ndung’u’s soul and will establish a special relationship with him.
Dr. Shimada is a true figure of a Japanese doctor who went to work as a volunteer in Kenya. Apparently his story inspired a song by the writer Sada Masashi. Also according to the vulgate, the actor Osawa Takao – already known as the protagonist of the TV series Jin, where he impersonated a doctor who for a time jolt ended in the Edo era and tried to introduce modern medicine – he fell in love with the story told by the song and convinced Sada to turn it into a novel / subject for a film produced by NTV (Nippon Television). In particular in the second part, the film introduces interviews with acquaintances and friends of Shimada, to increase the impact of the portrait of what seems almost a lay saint. The song that triggered the process is based on the last letter Shimada writes to Takako, when their stories have now taken different destinations.
Why this story and a subject like that have come to Miike, can not be explained except for purely economic reasons. Previously, other directors with a somewhat iconoclastic and / or transgressive past had tried to make a film of pure, completely mainstream feelings. I am thinking, for example, of the (ugly) Yomei ikkagetsu no hanayome (April Bride, 2009) by Hiroki Ryūichi and above all to the interesting Chanto tsutaeru (Be Sure to Share, 2009) by Sono Sion. But here we are at an even lower level. The direction of this tearful story about the background of postcard African sunsets is almost absent and it is also to think that Miike has only put the name for a product made by an anonymous television director. The fact that the film was also released in the hall and that in the first weekend of projections has collected about 133 million yen (roughly 1.18 million euro) is in turn an enigma.