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First of all, let me say English is not my first language. Chances are I'll make a couple of grammatical errors. Let me apologies in advance.
This is the first time I'm writing a review on IMDb, and I really don't have that much to say, but since this particular movie doesn't seem to get the attention it deserves I'll have a go at it.
I just finished watching it. It's been part of my Asian cinema collecting for maybe two weeks now, and after viewing Miike's "Gozu" yesterday it was time to give this film a go. The story is far from original. A young teacher has trouble handling his class. One day the idea of raising fireflies is suggested by one of the children, and it seems like a good project for everyone to get to know each other, and do some bonding. As you might expect, there are some kids that don't get along too well, there's an outcast that refuses to communicate with the others, and some other familiar characters. This all changes during the movie though... You can probably guess the rest of the story.
Fortunatly, there's a lot more to the movie than just the story itself. The characters, although unoriginal, are done quite well thanks to more than decent acting by the child-actors. You've got to give the director and the rest of the crew credit, if not only for having the children run with their feet tied together without them falling all over each other every two seconds. The pacing is good for the most part - I never got bored - and I'm a sucker for Japanese architecture and scenery. The school-building felt to me like a warm place, especially thanks to the way it's implemented in the surrounding nature (I hope this makes any sense). It's something I personally don't see to often, but really enjoy.
I guess what I'm trying to say is this is very much a film for those who enjoy nice scenery, some good acting and a little peek into another culture, but it's nothing groundbreaking. I liked it a lot, though I'm not really sure why.
I hope more replies will follow, I'd love to hear how other feel about the movie.
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