When: Wednesday, 25 July - Saturday, 28 July - Wednesday, 1 August
Where: The Civic, 269 Queen Street, Auckland
How much: $10.50-$17
Concrete Playground has five double passes to giveaway to I WISH which opens in cinemas August 16 2012. Simply email email@example.com with the subject line: I WISH to go in the draw. You must be subscribed to Concrete Playground in order to win the tickets.
I Wish, the latest film by Japanese writer director Kore-Eda is a beautiful reminder of the innocence of childhood and the openness and willingness children have to believe in anything – even miracles. It is a tender depiction of the challenges of everyday life, the bitterness of failure and the sweetness of success.
It was borne out of a Kore Eda's desire to create a film based on the newly-created Kyushu Shinkansen train line and to explore once again the theme of family relationships, as those familiar with his previous film, Nobody Knows will realise. The pace of I Wish is slow and gentle, giving you time to get to know the characters and empathise with them as we watch them struggle through their daily lives.
The premise of the film is set up with literal separation, dividing the story line between the severed halves of a newly divorced family. We are first introduced to Koichi (Koki Maeda), who lives in Kagoshima with his mother Nozomi (Nene Ohtsuka) and his grandparents. Ryunosuke (Koki's real-life brother Ohshiro Maeda) lives in Hakata with their father Kenji, a struggling musician. Koichi is perplexed by life, in particular by the erupting volcano which continually showers ash over the city but doesn’t seem to worry anyone except him. Despite living in a household full of people, loneliness emanates. Koichi can’t understand why they can’t go back to living together as a family and he frequently proclaims his frustration to the world with the words, “I don’t get it.”
His brother Ryu, by comparison, seems well-adjusted to his new life. He takes on the role of nurturer; cooking, gardening and looking after his father, even working to help support him, but all the while with a smile on his face. His unfailing optimism and joyful enthusiasm for life is undeniably charming, and if it weren’t for the fact that he manages to show a serious and solemn side when it really counts, you could easily think he hasn’t got a frown in him.
The brothers keep in contact via phone, usually calling each other after their swimming lessons to discuss life, school, friends, family – but most importantly, to discuss Koichi's greatest wish - how to get their parents back together. The story develops around a rumour Koichi hears - that those who witness the crossing of the bullet trains on the newly-opened Kyushu Shinkansen line will be granted a wish. As we watch the brothers prepare for their great adventure, Kore-Eda carefully threads together their stories as well as subplots involving the family and friends the boys enlist to help them execute their plan.
Koichi and Ryu are extremely well-cast and being real life brothers makes for an amazing on-screen connection, giving strength and conviction to their story. They are instantly likeable characters and their beautiful expressive faces have the effect of convincing us that they are wise beyond their years. Through unobtrusive camera work, honed by years of documentary-making, Kore-Eda lets life speak for itself. Refreshingly simple and honest, I Wish provides a different kind of escapism, an escape to the world of childhood where miracles aren’t magic or religion, they’re the stuff of everyday life.
Click here to find out how to win tickets to the film when it comes to Rialto Cinema Newmarket in August.
By Lara Thomas