Amiko isn’t like other children. Her eccentric energy and blunt honesty makes her an outcast at school and a troublemaker at home. When a tragic event strikes her family, her unique way of coping deeply affects those around her, causing clashes between her world and reality. Based on an award-winning novel by Natsuko Imamura, scored by the brilliant Ichiko Aoba, the director Yusuke Morii displays finely-tuned balance of hopefulness and cruel realism that reminds us of the innocent world we once lived in, free of social norms and expectations. ( 104 min. )
Available in US, Canada
Morii’s confidence in both Amiko’s message and as a filmmaker shrines through in its brilliant ending. Overtly symbolic yet emotionally grounded, it’s a showcase of the film’s finely-tuned balance of hopefulness and realism, and a flagrant refusal to wallow in tragedy or dilute Amiko’s agency. ... With such deft control over sensitive subjects and contrasting tone, Morii has proven with just his debut film his immense talent.
Comparisons to Kore-eda’s distinctive brand of filmmaking are perhaps inevitable, particularly as the film features some child actors that originally made their debuts in Kore-eda films – even if Amiko indulges in a great deal more of the fantastical. However, such comparisons may distract from the accomplishment of first-time director Yusuke Morii in crafting a distinctive atmosphere to the film and imagining such a memorable main protagonist.
SCENE COMMENTARY (exclusively available with rental/purchase)
The director Yusuke Morii shares behind-the-scenes stories, the composer Ichiko Aoba, and how he was able to pull a brilliant acting out of Kana Osawa, the first-time child actor who played the titular role.
I am very happy that “Amiko” will be reaching the audience in North America, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how it will be perceived. I would love for you to share what you think. This is the first film I’ve directed. This is also the first film the lead actress Kana Osawa has ever performed in. The world seen through the eyes of Amiko is truly rich and profound, yet often seen as strange by others. I wanted to cast a fundamental question of why such world has to be called strange, and that’s why I made this film. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the ride. My hope is that, after watching the film, the world appears a bit more vibrant to you. Please enjoy the film!