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Clearly disregarding the old show business maxim not to work with children or animals because they will always upstage your, Hirobumi Watanabe’s latest film is a delightful gem that follows a day in the life of adorable fourth grader Riko, her older brother Keita, and her best friend Nanaka (not to mention her scene-stealing pet cat). Like his other films, it is full of subtle visual and structural jokes, and focusses on the rhythms of everyday life, punctuated by comedic interludes (in this case featuring Watanabe himself as a shady door-to-door textbook salesman.) But it signals a departure in that the kids, with their natural performances and dialogue, clearly had a hand in creating the story. According to Japan Times film critic Mark Schilling, who inspired renewed interest in Watanabe’s work by programming it for this year’s online Udine Far East Film Festival, “Tthe cultural barriers in this charming film are not even one-inch high.” 

  • Year
    2020
  • Runtime
    62 minutes
  • Language
    Japanese
  • Country
    Japan
  • Director
    Hirobumi Watanabe