Grade schooler Ryonosuke (Kamiki Ryonosuke) has just moved to a small town with his father (Miura Tomokazu), a government official overseeing the area's unpopular airport construction ...
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Miriam Chin Wah Yeung,
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Grade schooler Ryonosuke (Kamiki Ryonosuke) has just moved to a small town with his father (Miura Tomokazu), a government official overseeing the area's unpopular airport construction project. Ryonosuke finds a new friend in milk delivery boy Kohei (Sasano Yuma) who introduces him to all the local eccentrics including Hiharu (Ohgo Suzuka), a young girl who believes she can communicate with UFOs. Kohei's dad (Kohinata Fumiyo) is also pretty strange himself, a biologist who went off on an endangered species conservation crusade years ago, but suddenly returns to town. His first homecoming project: leading a protest against the airport construction and Ryonosuke's dad.
A small regional jet lands at a report airport in Southern Japan, possibly on an island. The stewardesses bow as the guests disembark and walk across the ramp to the terminal. Gradually, the stewardesses notice that one guest has wandered slightly off course and is kneeling on the tarmac. When they approach him to see what is wrong, he points out a child's shoe embedded in the concrete.
So begins a very warm and quirky fantasy movie. The rest of the movie is a flashback to before the airport was built. The very quirky local villagers are resisting the airport construction. A new construction executive arrives with his young son - who is sent to the local one room school. There are many funny and eccentric characters. Some of the sequences are lightly surreal. The main characters are children, but a wide spread of age ranges are portrayed as part of the community.
I saw this in Japan in a movie theater (no subtitles) Not sure if or when it will be released on DVD, much less released outside of Japan. One interesting aside -> for non-Japanese who are studying: for some odd reason, I felt that the clarity and articulation of the dialog in this movie was exceptionally good. Much better than anything you see on Japanese television.
For sensitive viewers: no frontal nudity, overt sex, extreme violence or extreme profanity. However, like almost everything Japanese, there are bawdy hints around the edges. For the Japanese, these are a normal part of life. Some extremely conservative American viewers might be slightly uncomfortable having to explain to their small children why certain of the women in the movie keep lifting their skirts and flapping their white underwear at passers by.
It was a very pleasant evening at the movies for me...
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