Metal Maniac

Movie Suggestion XLI: Hitono nozomino yorokobiyo



Movie Suggestion XLI: Hitono nozomino yorokobiyo


Country: Japan – 2014


Genre: Drama


Directed by: Masakazu Sugita


Starring: Ayane Ohmori, Nahoko Yoshimoto, Kôichirô Nishi




Synopsis: A major earthquake has hit Japan destroying more than just houses. The dead are buried and the survivors are left among the ruins. Shot in tranquil images and using very little dialogue, the film tells the story of two siblings. After the disaster, Haruna and her little brother Sotha are taken in by their aunt and uncle. They have a lovely home where the children can live well. Their loving aunt takes good care of them and their uncle clearly loves having them around. And yet the children are far from happy. In order to protect him, the family have decided not to tell little Sotha about his parents’ death. But the boy is always asking after Mum and Dad, and often wants to go to the harbour to see if his parents are among the passengers on the ferry. He waits in vain. Haruna is not happy either and doesn’t fit in at her new school. She misses her parents and is tormented by the fact that she cannot tell her brother the truth. The tension felt by the children spreads to the rest of the family and when things erupt one day, Haruna decides to act. (




Rather than melodramatically pumping up this story in approved TV drama-style, Sugita tamps it down. He is aided by cinematographer Yoshio Kitagawa’s rich yet restrained color palette, with its melancholic end-of-summer mood, and Shingo Inaoka’s spare, repetitive piano score, which underlines Haruna’s feeling of being in suspended animation — neither free of the past nor fully in the present. If anything, the film goes too far in this suggest-not-tell direction, with the children walking solemnly, wordlessly and endlessly down one road, path or corridor after another, either alone or together. (…) (




“Hitono Nozomino Yoro Kobiyo is quite a lesson in cinematic patience, a domain in which the Japanese Cinema developed so much great directors and countless masterpieces.In western terms we could say Sugita approaches a kind of cinematic minimalism. But how I suggested in my Notes on Ozu´s Akibiyori, I am not sure about the accurateness of this term considering Japan as one of the greatest country in the history of Cinema. The European minimalism is often a minimalism of ideology and of the intellect, while the Asian and especially the Japanese is often one of the heart, a style which first of all is felt and lived.” (




“Filled with a close attention to detail and raw emotional honesty, Joy of Man’s Desiring encapsulates the everyday struggles that children orphaned by disasters face. Elegant long takes enhance the film’s decidedly pensive mood, while Inaoka Shingo’s plaintive, delicate piano score underscore the audience’s emotional involvement with Sugita’s unusually mature and assured debut.




Clocking in at barely over 80 minutes, Joy of Man’s Desiring never overstays its welcome, but demands patience and contemplation in a similar way that brings to mind Ozu’s masterpieces. Kitagawa Yoshio’s crisp, naturalistic cinematography, which feels remarkably true to its actual, beautiful locations, perfectly accentuates the anguish caught up in the images. A minimalist, heartbreaking film with great emotional power, Joy of Man’s Desiring touches the heart and makes a strong lasting impression.”  (




Hitono Nozomino Yoro Kobiyu is almost a film without any drama but until now it was the first film at this year´s Berlin Filmfestival that broke my heart. At the beginning of Werner Herzog´s Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle (The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser), there is following Quotation: “Don´t you hear the terrible cry which we use to call the silence?” (




All images belong to their rightful owners.

May 14, 2015


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