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"Shinkokyuu no Hitsuyou", literally "The need for a deep breath", is about 6 young individuals' 35-day contract to harvest the entire sugar cane field in Okinawa, southern islands of Japan.
Such contract farm work is often taken by those 'escaping' from some form of failure. Each workers have their unique personality as well as their own issues and reasons to escape, slowly unveiled throughout the film. With the strict deadline (factory that accepts sugar cane closes on March 31), they must set aside their differences and work together to accomplish a common goal.
The cast for this film is unbelievably wonderful in 2009 terms. Every one of the 6 main characters except Kaneko Sayaka has made it big enough to lead in their own films. Nagasawa Masami probably won't even accept such a dull role today. All the actors in this movie performed extremely well in roles that really fit them.
Every masterpiece of a film is accompanied by touching and memorable soundtrack, and the music in this movie is probably the best I've ever heard. For some reason, it almost made me cry even though there was nothing sad going on in the screen. I was simply overwhelmed by how inspirational it was.
Direction was fantastic. All the characters developed extremely well, from a bunch of unenthusiastic youngsters to hard workers who are proud of their work, and possibly changed their perspective of life. The movie is relatively slow-paced, but there was not a moment of boredom for me, and there were many truly unforgettable scenes from beautiful scenery of Okinawa and amazing camera movements.
Although this film had a relatively slow start, the story really drew me in, and I really connected with the main characters. This is the best Japanese movie I've seen to date out of almost 300, and I can't imagine a better "countryside" movie than this. The movie had a great message, that it's okay to be last, as long as you reach the goal and have fun while doing it.
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