We look at the world once, in childhood. The rest is memory.
Hirokazu Kore-eda has a career spanning 25 years, including 10 fiction feature films. With Nobody Knows, he explored the infamous Sugamo child abandonment case, focussing on a parent-less family of children surviving in Tokyo. Still Walking was another one of his poems on family, and on expectations, parents, graciousness and stubbornness. In 2011, he made I Wish, his latest work, which reaches UK cinemas this Friday. You don’t have to be interested in Kore-eda, or Asian cinema, or even world cinema to enjoy this wonderful film. It’s the story of two brothers separated through the recent divorce of their parents. They hear of a rumour: if you are present at the moment when the newly built bullet trains pass each other at 160mph. With a group of school friends, they aim to meet up and catch this miraculous event in order to solve all their problems.
There’s something that I Wish captures that is all too often unseen in the typical child performance in mainstream movies. It’s the curiosity – an interest in the world around them, and an inimitable way of speaking and behaving around others. What’s amazing is that Kore-eda fully embraces this, constantly adapting his story to the nature of the children. And that is worth seeing.