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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Wi a Ritoru Zonbizu (WE ARE LITTLE ZOMBIES)

Wî â Ritoru Zonbîzu (WE ARE LITTLE ZOMBIES)
Makoto Nagahisa, Japan

Hikaro (Keita Ninomiya) looks up at the sky viewing a chimney-stack spewing grey smoke at the crematorium, he realizes he is now alone; both his parents are dead, and he feels like a zombie; no feelings, no tears. As these dark clouds are floating off like grey dragons in the sky, he wonders what is wrong with him. So why can’t he cry? Why does he feel this way? Within seconds, Hikaro’s life changes and the entire mood of Japanese director Makoto Nagahisa’s debut film takes off exploding into an array of indescribably creative, symbolic wackiness. Hikaro soon connects to three 13-year-old protagonists, Ikuku (Satoshi Mizuno), Takemura (Mondo Okumura), and Ishi (Sena Nakajima) who are attending this traditional Japanese funeral of cremation. Black humor is in the minds of all three kids as they try to cope what has happened to them. They quickly become outsiders who can’t count on the adult world to help them in their grieving process. Nagahisa choses a difficult topic but through this new and dazzling approach makes the theme accessible to the Japanese culture who tend to keep their emotions on the inside. The film uses various techniques which includes at least three different kind of animation, from a painted paper-tiger behind bars, to old style quirky video games reminiscent of the 1983 Mario Bros. game, to a space ship travelling on quest. This energy packed film tells each character’s loss and how they come together to overcome their problems that they face together.
The most intriguing aspect of this film is the sound. Nagahisa takes us on an odyssey of sound beginning with Madame Butterfly’s opera to punk music to techno pop. We hear the heart-beat, the silence, the dialogue, all perfectly times and integrated to give a very in-depth view of the moment and time. The movie keeps our attention until the four kids form a neon-gaming-style rock band and the high pitched techno-sounds music goes on a bit to long for the western viewer’s ears. I am sure it is the perfect length for the Japanese audience. In my opinion Nagahisa is one of the most creative directors at this festival. His zany ideas, and perceptions, and music knowledge attempts to tackle a difficult topic shows his courage and a strong vision. The reality of this film takes us on a continuous rollercoaster ride which ends abruptly and it’s time to jump back into our reality. Nagahisa first short film was AND SO WE PUT GOLDFISH IN THE POOL which won the Sundance short film grand prize in 2017. He is someone who has so many ideas growing out of his head that there is no doubt that we will be seeing more of him in the future. (SRS)

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