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Lifeline

Hiru mo Yoru mo

Gateway | Dragons & Tigers

It’s much too long since VIFF last screened a film by Shiota Akihiko, but that’s not entirely our fault. After his early successes with idiosyncratic indie films like Moonlight Whispers and Harmful Insect, offbeat pictures of young people in love, usually with a slight edge of sado-masochism, he went mainstream and made a string of commercial entertainments. So Lifeline (which was commissioned, amazingly, for a corporate website) represents a return to his indie roots—and a rediscovery of what made his work so special to begin with. It was retrieved from internet oblivion and subtitled for the first time by the always-smart Tokyo FILMeX festival last year, and we’re delighted to bring it to its first audience outside Japan.

Ryosuke runs a used car dealership in the sticks, some way outside Tokyo. He inherited the business, and doesn’t enjoy running it. When a girl is dumped by the driver of a car on the road outside his forecourt, his life starts to turn upside-down. The seemingly flaky Shiori is demanding, rude and disinclined to explain herself. (It’s only later that we get tsunami-related hints as to why she behaves as she does.) First she takes up residence in one of the used cars, then keeps turning up like a bad penny, complicating Ryosuke’s life in ways he can’t handle. Fresh as a ‘new wave’ daisy, this is the sparkiest trip to Heartbreak Hotel since Chungking Express.
Tony Rayns

Preceded By: The Promise

Director: Shiota Akihiko / Japan, 2016, 15 min.
A "lost" short by Shiota (director of Lifeline), about a divorced father and his young daughter.
North American premiere
Director Shiota Akihiko
Country of Origin: Japan
Year: 2015
Running Time: 69 mins
Format: DCP
Cast: Seto Koji, Yoshinaga Jun, Usui Masahiro, Suga Kenta
Producer: Moriya Takeshi, Suzuki Yoshihiro, Negishi Hiroyuki
Screenwriter: Shiota Akihiko
Cinematographer: Shinomiya Hidetoshi
Editor: Sato Takashi
Music: Kida Shunsuke
Production Company: ‘Hiru mo Yoru mo’ Partners
Print Source: Akihiko Shiota

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