Japanese Film Competition (Feature Length)
<2019 / Japan / 144min.>
A deceased grandfather’s hidden keepsakes and the memories these bring to the surface. Everyone will be astonished by this monochromatic visual experience.
Sora retraces the diary written by her grandfather during the Second World War and has begun a search for a mysterious treasure. Around that time, a homeless man who wordlessly walks backwards shows up in the town where she lives. One night, her drunk father hits that man with the car he is driving. Sora allows the man to stay the night in their home, but the next morning she learns her father sent the man away, so she rushes out of the house.
©2020 KOWATANDA FILMS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Director: Anshul CHAUHAN
Cast: Wan MARUI, Hidemasa MASE, Taichi YAMADA, Seira KOJIMA, Takuzo SHIMIZU
< Commentary >
Who is this man who walks backwards? Perhaps he could be the catalyst for mending the strained relationship between Sora and her father. This film by director Anshul Chauhan provides that sort of strange warmth. Born in India, Chauhan also works as an animator. His feature-length debut Bad Poetry Tokyo (18) was screened at the Raindance Film Festival in the UK, the Osaka Asian Film Festival among many other festivals in Japan and abroad. It was awarded the Best Narrative Feature Film at the Brussels Independent Film Festival. This, his second feature film, world premiered at the 23rd Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival where it won the Grand Prix for the Best Film and the Award for Best Music. Playing Sora is Wan Marui, a promising actress who appeared in Life: Untitled (19) which was presented at the Tokyo International Film Festival’s Japanese Cinema Splash section last year. Hidemasa Mase plays the man who walks backwards. His all-out commitment to the role garnered him the Best Actor award at the 15th Osaka Asian Film Festival.
Director: Anshul CHAUHAN
Born 1986 in Northern India. After attaining his Bachelor of Arts at university, Chauhan began working as an animator from 2006. In 2011 he relocated to Tokyo and was involved in the Annie Award-winning “Tron: Uprising” (12) series at Polygon Pictures. Afterward, he has worked at OLM and Square-Enix. The titles he has worked on include “Final Fantasy XV” and Gantz: O (16), among others. He began making films as Kowatanda Films in 2016. The two films he has completed have been decorated with various awards at film festivals around the world.
This film is a very personal story. My father belonged to the military and I, too, have been to a military academy. However, the film does not focus on the military to that extent, and instead shines a light on the shape of the two protagonists who walk spiritually and physically backwards to find themselves. I did not explicitly express the immaterial and spiritual aspects, but these are sure to be felt from this film. The reason being, these are things that transcend our comprehension. As such, I’ve expressed this in various forms as fiction and otherwise have been able to entrust the interpretation to the audience.