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HOME

Japan, 2001 (MIFF 2003, Brain Monkey Sushi)

Director: Kobayashi Takahiro

About one million Japanese youths are afflicted with 'hikikmori'—a total withdrawal from society—shutting themselves up at home, out of frustration with school or work. Home is a fascinating documentary portraying one family's struggle with the effects of this condition.

25-year-old Kobayashi Takahiro's older brother has led a 'hikikmori' life for seven years, holed up in his room with videos and books, the TV set seemingly never turned off. Growing tension led to the father and Takahiro moving out of the family home, leaving the mother alone with her shut-in son, who only descends from his room to go to the kitchen, occasionally beating his mother. After five years, in an act of desperation, she cries out to her youngest son, who arrives armed with a video camera. Initiating dialogue between the family members is only the first step to liberate them from their deadlock, as the camera serves as a vehicle of rehabilitation and reconciliation.

Home is remarkable for its raw and honest approach to a unique and modem social phenomenon. First time filmmaker Kobayashi Takahiro's film effectively conveys the sense of ennui that has hold of his brother and the family's desire to see him return to society.

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