About the Film
The profound magic of cinema does not necessarily come from technical brilliance or in conveying some deeper message; style, production, mood, context, and at times even acting can be superfluous in its wondrous realisation. Sometimes a film just speaks to you. It shouts out everything you want, or have ever wanted, to say without you having to push air from out your lungs – and it feels so damn elating and freeing for such a connection to exist let alone allowed to be indulged in. Of course, this is not to say only a few films can speak to anyone on this level, but Naho Kamimura’s “Wander Life”, now streaming via the Japanese Film Festival Magazine, replenishes our hollowing vessels with bewildering vibrancy and youthful fervour, leaving us with one foot firmly in hindsight and the other preparing to leap into the unknown.
Shuri Nakamura gives an award-winning performance as Hinano Matsuki, a lonely middle-school pupil who can only communicate her feelings through the written word and is targeted by a trio of bullies in her class. After one such incident she runs off to hide in the school infirmary where nurse Shindo (played with heart-wrenching immensity by Yo Hasegawa) works. Over time, the pair strike up a friendship, providing each other the space and company needed to break down their own boundaries and open up to each other. But as the relationship between Shindo and another teacher is threatened with exposure by the same bullies, Hinano takes drastic measures to find her own voice and courage by the only means she knows how: music.