The Round Table (Entaku – Kokko, hitonatsu no imajin,円卓 – こっこ,ひと夏のイマジン)



Director and screenplay: Yukisada Isao
Photography: Fukumoto Jun

· Ashida Mana (Uzuhara Kotoko, “Kokko-chan”)
· Ito Shu (Possan)
· Yashima Norito (father)
· Aoyama Misato (Riko, Mako and Tomomi)
· Hano Aki (mother)
· Ishida Ayumi (Grandmother)
· Maruyama Ryuhei (the teacher)
· Hira Mikijiro (grandfather)

Production: Fujikado Hiroyuki, Yoshizawa, Takahiro
Running Time: 113 minutes
Release Date: June 21, 2014
Official Site: entaku-movie.jp

Based on a novel by Nishi Kanako of 2011, The Round Table is a Yukisada Isao film whose story unfolds around the character of Kokko, a 8 year old girl.
Kokko is nice, full of ideas, determined, enterprising, even a bit annoying in his tone of “saputella”: a character at times dressy, played excellently by Ashida Mana, a young star. The small is part of a large family, whose members live all together in a small Osaka apartment: the father, mother, grandfather and grandmother, and the three twin sisters of Kokko: Riko, Mako and Tomomi.
There is nothing extraordinary in Yukisada’s film, except the small things of every day, seen through the eyes of a little girl. Kokko goes to school, meets with friends, takes part in family dinners and dinners, dreams open-minded, supported by a wise grandfather who helps her with the philosophical advice that she cares for.
The director’s tone is light but there is talk of the great theme that is the relationship between the world of childhood and adult life, the “thirst” of individuality, how much it costs to grow.
The character of Kokko reminded me of Moe’s, in the drama Going my home of Koreeda Hirokazu, 2012. Of course not the only example of character-child in Koreeda’s filmography (unforgettable the four young Nobody Knows interpreters) , But what seems to me perhaps the closest to the impetuous protagonist of the Yukisada film. Moe was also a decidedly young girl, somewhat clumsy; at times it seemed almost hostile to those parents – especially the mother – so busy with their daily lives; But also for her was a conflict of personality confronting the pitfalls of becoming big and of having to deal with so many new and unknown emotions.
As in Koreeda’s film, Kokko in The Round Table also gives a handful of fantasy, dispensed with affection, along with good advice, from mentor to par excellence, good and patient grandpa. In a general comedy atmosphere, “important” issues come to the fore: the South Korean classmate, the encounter with the strange character wrapped in a gown, which will then be stopped by the police as “pervert.” Hints on topics that try to move the movie on a more profound track, but only partially.
What is left behind is the extraordinary scenic presence of the character played by Ashida Mana, whose imagination comes from fantastic animals, words that come alive on the screen (hint to communication and relationship with the world around it …), and whose attitudes sometimes seem Indicative of a person clearly compatible with the world of appearance, of media dominance, in which we live. Like when you bend an eye to imitate a schoolmate who has an actual visual problem, or when he claims to imitate people not to hurt them, but because he feels it is cool behavior.
A little girl of our time, little Kokko: I have aroused sympathy and discomfort at the same time.
[Katsuyuki Nakanishi]

Katsuyuki Nakanishi
Born on 1984 in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture. Graduated in Vantan Film and Movie Institute major in film director. The fourth graduate of JSC Cinematographers assistant upbringing cramming school. While he was studying in Tokyo, he was also working with Director Shinya Tsukamoto's movie at the same time. After that, he became part of the lighting department of Toei Studios Kyoto, studied under Kiyoto Ando and Takashi Sugimoto. In these movies, he worked as an assistant lighting director with Takashi Sugimoto in "Chacha - Tengai no Onna"(2007) and Kiyoto Ando in "The Fallen Angel"(2010). He work as a freelancer since 2011 and became part of these latest movies as a lighting director of Director Yang Ik-June's ”Shibata and Nagao"(2012), Director Keisuke Yoshida’s ”Himeanile”(2016), Director Kohki Yoshida’s ”ThreeLights"(2017), Director Hiroshi Ando’s ”Moon and Thunder" (2017) and Director Shinya Tsukamoto’s ”Killing” (2018).

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