Director Ryosuke Hashiguchi / 1995 / Japan

In Like Grains of Sand director Ryosuke Hashiguchi orchestrates the intensity of passionate, thwarted first love into a remarkably moving film. When Kasane is transferred to a new school, she does not take long to figure out that Shuji. the most interesting boy in her class, is gay and hopelessly in love with his straight friend, Hiroyuki.The friend is forbearing, but not interested. Kasane goads Shuji into spilling the beans—and gradually the gay boy and stroppy girl become firm friends. They are mistaken for a couple by their classmates and don't always take the trouble to deny it.

When Shuji's straight friend challenges this semblance of coupledom and begins to show an interest in Kasane, the appalled Shuji does not react in a mature or rational fashion. He contrives confrontations of an intensely emblematic character—abetted, perhaps too eagerly, by the film maker he was to become.

There's no mistaking that the obsessive young Shuji is the portrait of the artist in this film. Call it sublimation, but it may be his desire to know every heartbeat of his straight friend that led him to deliver so vivid and comp­assionate a picture, not of his own troubled adolescence, but of two other bright young people equally galled by the discovery that there ain't no cure for love • Bill Gosden. Wellington Film Festival

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