a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Taidachi no shimauta / 旅立ちの島唄 十五の春

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250px-Tabidachi_no_Shima_Uta-p1Taidachi no shimauta reaches an apotheosis of sentimentality, though not in an entirely undeserved way, following the coming of age of 15 year-old Yuna (Ayaka Miyoshi). Set on the Okinawan island of Minamidaito, a place that can’t support a high school, the film follows a year in Yuna’s life before she must leave to attend high school on a different island. Director Yasuhiro Yoshida’s not much of film stylist, nor that great a screenwriter, but overcomes these deficiencies with compassion for his characters – carefully choosing types and faces – and with his feeling for rituals of island life, from the mundane to the celebratory. There’s no high drama in Taidachi no shimauta. But there’s an inevitability that Yoshida acknowledges and lauds. And then there’s the music that young Yuna performs, binding her to community and family, split by logistics, but still maintaining. Yoshida’s cultural window on a small and insignificant community provides a deeper and more touching portrait of how people continue to survive and thrive in these times than most similarly themed stories.

Originally published in EL Magazine, May 2013

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Written by Nicholas Vroman

May 2, 2013 at 2:22 am

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