I Wish (PG)
The Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda – best known for “Nobody Knows” about four young brothers and sisters forced to survive on their own after their mother abandons them – has such an extraordinarily delicate manner with children that his approach can feel like a code of ethics, a declaration of honesty toward these often badly used and exploited performers. The gentleness of his approach, his stylistic unobtrusiveness and the way that children open up in front of his camera are among the subtle pleasures in his latest film, “I Wish”.
This is the story of two young Japanese brothers who live apart following the break-up of their parents’ relationship. The older boy dreams of his family reuniting and prays for a miraculous intervention in the form of a volcanic eruption, hoping this might lead to his evacuation from his grandparents’ region and a return home. Then, when he discovers that the passing of the speeding Bullet trains, approaching from opposite directions, creates a ‘cosmic’ moment during which wishes are granted, he sets out with a few friends to meet his brother at the meeting point on the railway line. There they make their wishes – with varying results.
The film features brilliant performances from the young actors (real life brothers) and an excellent supporting cast of adults. There is also gorgeous and evocative cinematography, scenes of the Japanese countryside and its urban impositions, not least the Bullet line itself elevated on its concrete trackbed.
“I Wish” is a wonderful film with tons of heart that puts the human in humanistic filmmaking.
Cast: Koki Maeda, Ohshiro Maeda, Hiroshi Abe
Awards: Three wins, eight nominations
Hirokazu Koreeda | Japan | 2011 | 128 mins | PG
Weighted vote 76.2%