I Wish [Kiseki]
DIRECTED BY HIROKAZU KORE-EDA
JAPAN, 2011, 128 MIN
IN JAPANESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
Director Hirokazu Kore-Eda (Afterlife, FFF1999) has a background in documentary filmmaking, but he’s known in the West for his broken family dramas. A close observer of life’s details and human behavior, he’s generous toward his all-too-human characters. In the moving and more lighthearted I WISH, twelve-year-old Koichi regrets his parents have split. He lives with his mother and maternal grandparents in small-town Kagoshima; his younger brother Ryunosuke resides with their slacker rock-musician father in big city Hakata. A new bullet train line will soon run between the two cities. Koichi comes to believe that where the two trains pass on their maiden voyage, wishes can come true. Enlisting friends and adults, all with their own wishes, he journeys to reunite his family. Kore-Eda shows the inventiveness and resilience of children and the power of the imagination, with a child’s developing awareness that life and wishes can change. This modern Japanese master was invited to develop a film around the new Kyushu Bullet Train line, but it’s hardly a PR gesture—the humanity of I WISH is its appeal.