The film depicts the contrasting lives of homeless people vs. a well-off but dysfunctional family in Nagoya. Deep-rooted problems on the prejudice against the homeless and the capitalism society with excessive competitions and materialism gradually revealed in this fictional movie with a touch of documentary.
With a tone of Italian Neorealism movie a la The Bicycle Thief, I was absorbed by this film until the middle of the film.
However, the last one-third of this film was so shocking to me, notably the characterization of kids at elite cram school as Les Enfants Terribles, which I believe is a far fetched explanation of real issues in today's (even the past) Japanese society. Whereas the film showed the harsh life of homeless people so well, is our society so sick and ignorant as depicted in this film?
As an educator, I feel so sorry that the film sends a message that hardworking at school is leading to the sick society the film depicted. This might cause some controversy among Japanese parents when the film come out later this month. The issues of the school competition and the homeless should have been separated. The film could have had a better scenario with more warmth.
Some of my friends who joined the film screening also found the movie a bit too heavy.
Soon our conversation shifted from the heavy topic to more cheerful one.
Nonetheless, I felt terribly guilty for enjoying drinks and late snacks after the film: these homeless people do not afford them. So, the film kicked my butt - a powerful reminder of homeless and other misfortune people.
Posted on Tuesday 8 May 2012