This cinematic coming-of-age tale is set in an indigenous village in Northern Japan, where a community‘s livelihood depends on preserving and performing their ancient traditions for visiting tourists. There lives Kanto (Kanto Shimokura), a sensitive 14-year-old boy who has recently lost his father. The other local teenagers are restless and tired of their parents forcing them to participate in cultural rituals, especially when they don't even speak the language themselves. Kanto is taken under the wing of a longtime family friend, Debo (Debo Akibe), who introduces him to the secrets and wisdom of their ancestors, offering the boy an outlet to strengthen his sense of self. But unbeknownst to Kanto, a debate is brewing among the community about a controversial ceremony. Without his father’s guidance to help shape his sense of right and wrong, Kanto must decide whether he stays on the side of tradition or if he will stand up for his own values.
This second feature from director Takeshi Fukunaga (Out Of My Hand) captures a young man grasping at the mysteries of adulthood.—Lucy Mukerjee
Takeshi Fukunaga is a Japanese filmmaker based in New York. His first film, Out of My Hand, premiered in Berlinale Panorama in 2015, was released through Ava DuVernay’s Array, and was nominated for the John Cassavetes Independent Spirit Award. Fukunaga was selected by the Cannes Cinéfondation to develop his second film.