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Japan, 1994 (MIFF 1995)

Director: Tomoyuki Furumaya

Tomoyuki Furumaya's first feature is quite unlike other recent Japanese movies about teenagers. For one thing, its about romantic longings rather than sex. For another, its tone is sensual rather than sappy. For yet another, its setting is rural rather than urban (it was shot in Yamanashi Prefecture in midsummer) and it catches the rhythms of young lives with surreal precision. Plus there's the small matter of its visual style it's far from flawless, but the overall control of composition and mise en scene suggests a flair of the kind associated with veteran mas­ters more than young independents.

It's summer vacation, Yoko's family is moving to Hokkaido, her parents are there already but she keeps finding excuses to delay her depar­ture. Is that because Taro is laid up next door with a broken leg in plaster? Her feelings seem unformed and his are definitely unresolved. The uncertainties are echoed in the lives of their friends,no-one is quite sure of anything in the languorous heat. In a film which saves its first big close-up for its first intimate caress the long view is everything, and Furumaya's vision is twenty-twenty.

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