Ai Hashimoto, Mugi Kadowaki, and Ryo Narita: three popular and talented young stars join with director Ryuichi Hiroki in a finely chiseled exploration of the vagaries of the human heart.
‘It’s Boring Here, Pick Me Up’ comes from the short stories of Mariko Yamauchi, a writer who has mined the experiences of her generation in such works as ‘Haruko Azumi is Missing’, also made into a motion picture. Starring is Ai Hashimoto, who first made her name in ‘Confessions’, and has since gone on to feature in titles like ‘The Kirishima Thing’. Appearing with her is a cast of talented performers including Mugi Kadowaki, who came to prominence with her hard-hitting performance in ‘Love’s Whirpool’, and Ryo Narita, whose stock as a young actor to watch has been rising since ‘Kiseki: Sobito of That Day’. Directing is Ryuichi Hiroki (‘The Miracles of the Namiya General Store’), known for his love stories and his depiction of women’s emotions. The theme song is by FUJIFABRIC, a favorite band of the generation to which the film’s characters belong, and the cast also performs a rendition of the group’s hit ‘Madder Red Sunset’. This is a vibrant and very real evocation of youth as it begins to vanish, where dreams of worlds to conquer have yet to be buried in ennui and frustration.
27 year-old ‘I’ (Ai Hashimoto) has returned to her home town after ten years in Tokyo, where she went after high school in dreams of becoming ‘something’. Living with her parents, she freelances for a local magazine, but they treat her as an aimless ‘freeter’, and she feels that her life is going nowhere. She meets a friend from high school, and they decide to look up Shiina (Ryo Narita), who in those days was a boy generally admired as ‘cool, tall, the star of the soccer team, and friends with even the delinquents.’ On the way to see him, a golden memory of those days revives in her mind.
Likewise Shiina’s old girlfriend, ‘me’ (Mugi Kadowaki), cannot forget him either. While she admired the idea of Tokyo, fear of what might await there held her back, and she has never left the home town. After Shiina himself left, one of his hangers-on approached her, and she has taken up with him largely because it’s more trouble to tell him no, but she is still obsessed with the glittering memories of those golden days of youth. Where will she find that ‘something’ that was not here, that might have been in Tokyo, that something she hoped to find in Shiina that would banish the ennui of her everyday life? And meanwhile, what has happened to Shiina himself?
A vivid portrayal of women in a small Japanese city, nearing 30 and trying to find their place.
■ 2018 Vancouver International Film Festival (2018)
■ The 38th Hawaii International Film Festival (2018)
- Spotlight on Japan
■ The 19th Nippon Connection (2019)
- Nippon Cinema
- Ai Hashimoto (橋本愛), Mugi Kadowaki (門脇麦), Ryo Narita (成田凌)
- Ryuichi Hiroki (廣木隆一) / "The Miracles of The Namiya General Store" ’17
- Tomoya Sakurai (櫻井智也)
- Original Novel
- Mariko Yamauchi (山内マリコ)
- Japan release
- October 19, 2018
- 98 min.
- Technical Specs
- Color / 1:1.85 / Digital / 5.1ch