See You Tomorrow, Everyone / みなさん、さようなら / Minasang, Sayonara (2012)
Director: Yoshihiro Nakamura ; Screenplay: Yoshihiro Nakamura, Tamio Hayashi, Takehiko Kubodera
Cast: Gaku Hamada, Kana Kurashina, Kento Nagayama, Kei Tanaka, Nene Otsuka
This movie played a trick on me but what a masterful trick it was. The movie starts out as a comedy about a quirky, weird guy that you feel sorry for but then it becomes a drama where you begin to sympathize with and eventually root for him. The ending will likely make you feel sad and also hopeful. I admit I cried near the end and it was well deserved. Even during the serious and sad parts, there are surprising moments of humour that don’t feel out of place. The performance of the main actor Gaku Hamada is a nuanced and amazing one that should be seen.
The story begins in 1981 in the projects (Furoku housing project) where the main character, Satoru, at the age of 14 decides that he never wants to leave the projects. He doesn’t want to go to high school and instead gets a job at the local cake shop when he turns 16. The story spans about 15 or more years after Satoru’s elementary school graduation and counts down as the number of his fellow graduates leave the projects. Satoru has various typical coming of age experiences including awkward sexual touching and groping with a couple of females. As more and more Japanese leave the projects, foreigners begin to move in and a teenage Brazilian girl who plays soccer ends up having a surprising connection to Satoru’s past. Will Satoru ever leave the projects?
I strongly recommend that you find out by watching the movie because it was one of the best films I’ve seen at the Fantasia Festival so far. There have been many Fantasia films I’ve liked a ton this year, many of them including this one, coming out of nowhere to completely surprise and impress me. I probably shouldn’t have been too surprised since I liked A Boy and his Samurai which had the same director.
The second screening will be on August 6 at 5pm so you still have a chance to watch this great and unique film.