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167 Ratings

The Land of Hope

Kibô no kuni

Directed by Sion Sono
Japan, United Kingdom, 2012


In a typical Japanese village, Yoichi Ono lives with his wife, Izumi and his parents. The Ono family lives a frugal but happy life as dairy farmers in the peaceful village. One day, the worst earthquake in history strikes, causing a nearby nuclear power station to explode…

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The Land of Hope Directed by Sion Sono
Sono’s approach here is much more low-key and naturalistic than in the two films he made prior to this one—the epic saga of perversity Love Exposure and the anguished, wayward-youth manga adaptation Himizu—but he has rarely been so deeply attuned to the enduring struggles in Japanese society between young and old, history and memory, tradition and progress.
August 23, 2016
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The film finds Sono folding his subject and his thematic text together so naturally into his newly languid style that the two end up canceling each other out, flatlining what would otherwise be an impassioned polemic. Sono’s normally vivid compositional sense is thus rendered (save for a fiery, allegorical death sequence late in the film) bland and unmemorable, all grayscale hues and shallow, dimensionless visual planes.
September 16, 2012
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As affecting as you’d expect is the footage of areas around the plant, seen as a wintry wasteland. Like Rossellini filming in bombed Berlin in Germany Year Zero, Sono has shot precious footage of ruins that testify to a calamity in which nature conspired with human blunders.
September 13, 2012
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