DVD review: Himizu

Two extraordinary performances from young actors made Himizu one of the most talked about world cinema films in festivals across the world.

Shota Sometani and Fumi Nikaido are entrusted with the major roles in this highly charged and emotional drama but come up with the goods.

The recent Blu-Ray release of the movie, accompanied by a separate disc of features and interviews, shows even more clearly director Sono Sion’s ability to use exterior scenes and the elments to enhance the movie.

The film is set in Fukushima following the 2011 tsunami which triggered off explosions at the local nuclear power plant.

Homes are shattered and people’s lives are in turmoil.

Pasted on to this dismal background are two teenagers faced with an uncertain future.

Sumida (Sometani) is left to look after his family’s boat rental business after his mother abandons him to go off with her lover. His violent drunken father returns occasionally to cause further misery.

A fellow pupil of Sumida’s, Keiko (Nikaido) also has a terrible home life with her parents encouraging her to kill herself.

Keiko has a crush on Sumida but a shocking incident will tug at the teenagers’ emotions and force them to make some vital decisions.

The constant message heard on TVs in the background and shouted by members of the cast is ‘Don’t give up’, but the movie takes the cast to some very dark places before they have a chance of moving forward.

The director was working on the original Himizu story from a manga comic before the 2011 earthquake. After helping with the relief operation Sono Sion decided to change the location of his film to Fukushima to make the story even more powerful.

As well as the two young stars, there is an experienced group of actors such as Ken Mitsuishi and Denden to ensure the emotional pace doesn’t falter.

It’s no wonder Himizu won a top award at the Venice Film Festival.

Himizu is distributed by third window films (cert 18).

Steve Payne