12-year old Koichi lives with his mother and retired grandparents in Kagoshima, in the southern region of Kyushu. His younger brother Ryunosuke lives with their father in Hakata, northern Kyushu. The brothers have been separated by their parents’ divorce and Koichi’s only wish is for his family to be reunited. When he learns that a new bullet train line will soon open, linking the two towns, he starts to believe that a miracle will take place the moment these new trains first pass each other at top speed. With help from the adults around him, Koichi sets out on a journey with a group of friends, each hoping to witness a miracle that will improve their difficult lives.
Born in Tokyo in 1962. Originally intended to be a novelist, but after graduating from Waseda University in 1987 went on to become an assistant director at TV Man Union. Sneaked off set to film Lessons from a Calf (1991). His first feature, Maboroshi no hikari (1995), based on a Teru Miyamoto novel and drawn from his own experiences whilst filming August Without Him (1994), won jury prizes at Venice and Chicago. The main themes of his oeuvre include memory and loss, death and loss, and the intersection of documentary and fictional narratives. —IMDb
I would probably cast a harsher judgment on the film were it not for the touching premise, the Kyushu location and, last but not least, the young cast. I dozed off somewhere in the middle (longueurs + jet lag) but perked up again when the kids started planning their little adventure. ... Those kids are seriously awesome (and not just the two incredible leads, their little friends too).
“We sort of do the lineup by the seat of our pants.”
Drawing attention to notable reviews as they come in from the festival.