Films Contemplating Peace: Part 5; “Trapped Balloon”
The theater management company Johakyu, which operates the Hatchoza and Salon Cinema theaters in Naka-ku, Hiroshima, screens over 200 films a year. The Johakyu members shared with us their recommendations for “films contemplating peace that you should see now.”
“Trapped Balloon” is a film set against the backdrop of the 2018 Japan floods, which occurred in July of 2018, and inflicted devastating damage within Hiroshima Prefecture.
Having lost his family in the disaster that resulted from the heavy rains, the protagonist lives alone while working as a fisherman off of an island in the Seto Inland Sea. As he interacts with the residents of the island, including a former teacher who has returned to her home after feeling lost and aimless, he gradually opens up his heart to others, and begins the step-by-step process of facing life with a more positive attitude. The film depicts his struggles amidst the beauty of the Seto Inland Sea archipelago.
The director, Miyagawa Hiroyuki, who was born in the city of Hiroshima, and experienced the 2018 Japan floods up close, decided that, “Because I live in Hiroshima, I was compelled to make a film that bore the theme of the 2018 Japan floods.” Driven by this determination, he embarked on his first feature-length film, shot entirely on location in places such as Kure, Shimo-kamagari Island, Kurahashi-jima Island, and Etajima.
The protagonist, who initially shuts himself off from others due to his experience with the flooding, but gradually learns to open his heart, is played by Higashide Masahiro, who gives an impassioned performance. The heroine, who is drawn close to the protagonist, while also searching for a new path in her own life, is played by Miura Tōko, who once again performed on location in Hiroshima, following her role in “Drive My Car.” The film also features Kobayashi Kaoru and Asada Miyoko in supporting roles.
Recent years have seen an increase in natural disasters, such as earthquakes and heavy rains, as well as civil wars and strife occuring all over the world, inflicting massive damage upon those regions. These areas are in need of immediate humanitary aid in the form of food and medical services and supplies. However, even with the restoration of buildings and lifelines over time, it is not a simple matter to return citizens who have had their souls crushed to a normal, peaceful life again. We can imagine that many people suffer from the post-traumatic psychological effects of these disasters, such as the fear that is felt immediately after such incidents, the tragic images seared into their memories that cannot be wiped away, or the inability to recover from the sense of loss of having loved ones and homes taken away.
Four years have passed since the 2018 Japan floods, but a theme of this film is also to ring the alarm against allowing the effects of the disaster to fade away into memory. In order to realize a world in which all people can live in peace, the first thing we must do is to prevent wars or disasters from every happening. However, when large populations have their peaceful lives taken away, not only must we provide immediate relief and support to the stricken areas, we also need to provide long-term emotional and psychological care for the victims afterward. In order to provide loving care and to gently protect those who have suffered in these disasters, we must endeavor to never forget the memories of the harm and damages caused by catastrophe and war.
■Title: Trapped Balloon
■December 2022: Hiroshima advance release (Hatchoza, beginning December 1st, 2022)
January 2023: Sequential roadshow nationwide release in theaters such as the Shinjuku Piccadilly, etc.
Director, screenwriter: Miyagawa Hiroyuki
Cast: Higashide Masahiro, Miura Tōko, Kobayashi Kaoru, Asada Miyoko
Hara Hideko, Horibe Keisuke, Kasahara Hideyuki, Yuka, Nakagawa Haruki, Kaki Tatsumaru, Neya Ryôka, Toyama Yū , Nakamura Sachi
Producer: Okuno Yuki
Associate Producer: Suzuki Takeshi
Assistant Director: Hamamoto Toshiharu
Cinematography: Kamei Yoshinori
Lighting: Tachikake Susumu
Art Director: Heya Kyôko
Sound Recording: Furuya Masashi
Music: Kikuchi Tomonobu
Production: buzzCrow Inc.
Distribution: MAGIC HOUR Inc.
Released 2022/Japan/Color/1.85:1/5.1 ch/DCP/104 min
Official website: https://tobenaifusen.com
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