a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Azemichi Road / あぜみちジャンピンッ!

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Fumie Nishikawa’s The Azemichi Road is about a young hearing-impaired girl, Yuki (Haruka Ooba), living in a sort of interior isolation the village of Uonuma. She crosses paths with the Jumping Girls, a crew of young teens working on their pop/hip hop dance routine. Invited to join the group by Rena (Misaki Futenma), she faces a classic array of demons to slay – her own physical disabilities, peer pressures, jealousies, insecurity, mother-daughter issues. Of course, she manages to overcome them by the final scenes of the big dance competition. The positivist message is a standard trope of kids’ films, but what makes The Azemichi Road stand out is not only the novel situation of a deaf dancer but Nishikawa’s feel for place and character. From the emerald green rice fields to the crumbling concrete schools and non-descript public halls and domestic architecture to the world of girls – their peeves, insults, trusts and friendships – has a naturalism and connectedness that belie the occasional clichés that drive the plot. All in all, Yuki and the Jumping Girls rock.

Originally published in EL Magazine, July 2011.

Written by Nicholas Vroman

June 26, 2011 at 1:04 am

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