Movie Reviews for the week

Children of the Sea  

Director: Ayumu Watanabe 

Voices: Mana Ashida, Hiiro Ishibasi, Seishu Uragami 

Running time: 111 MIN. 

Official Site: 

Ruka (voiced by Mana Ashida) a 14-year-old curious girl feels a misfit in her world as she is mostly a loner with no friends. When she was younger, she had seen a ghost in the waters of the aquarium where her father worked. And she feels drawn towards the ocean and its creatures. One day a fight at her school soccer game got her kicked out of the team and she felt depressed. But soon made a new unexpected friend Umi (Hiiro Ishibasi), a teenage boy her age who showed her the unique “will-o-the wisp,” a bright shining falling star. Umi explained to her that everything in this world needs to be found and hence there are insects and animals that shine in order to be found. Ruka felt the same, as she wanted to be found that day and Umi found her.  

“Children of the Sea” which is featured in the  TIFF Next Wave films, is a film that should be celebrated as it projects a character that any teen can relate to. At the same time the focus is on the planet and its creatures. Ruka’s father works at an aquarium and her mother is shown in the film with a beer talking to her daughter as she is concerned.  

Ruka stays in a mesmerized state of mind with her new friends Umi and Sora who were raised by dugongs and hear the same calls that Ruka hears after she saw the ghost in the aquarium. She dives in with her friends in the deep ocean and has a close encounter with the shark whales. She is amazed to see her friends swimming with the dolphins.  

In the meanwhile, Ruka’s dad and the workers at the aquarium are busy with the fishes washing up on the shores as well as fishes disappearing from the aquarium.  

The film directed by Ayumu Watanabe is a great reminder to the audiences that this wonderful planet we live in requires a lot of attention, and that time is running out.  

Nose to Tail  

Director: Jesse Zigelstein 

Actors: Aaron Abrams 

Drama, 82 minutes 

What a struggling chef goes through in managing his business is portrayed through this Canadian film, Nose to Tail.  Dan (Abrams) runs a restaurant but gets into financial problems and that’s when the drama starts. His landlord (Robert B. Kennedy) needs the rent as well as his suppliers have stopped working for him. His sous-chef (Brandon McKnight) has found another job where he will be in charge. This angers Dan who kicks him out the minute he finds out.  

The movie portrays the character Dan as an egotistical man with a “my way or the high way” attitude. In the end Dan gets beaten up by a food truck owner because he wanted him to move away from his restaurant. The food truck owner gets angry and punches him. “Dan” struggles with his own demons and the movie shows the day to day struggles of a restaurant owner who tries to save his falling business.  

House of Hummingbird

Director: Kim Bora

Actors:  Park Jihu, Kim Saebyuk, Lee Seungyeon, Jeong Ingi, Seol Hyein, Park Saeyun, Jeong Yunseo, Bak Suyeon, Son Sangyeon

Drama, 139 Minutes

Filmmaker Kim Bora’s “House of Hummingbird,” is about a lonely young 14-year-old girl Eun-hee (Park Ji-hu) set in 1994. The whole film is based on her daily life which include a short romance at school and a heartbreak, as well as dealing with her family and a new teacher. Eun-hee also deals with her hard working yet confused parents, an older brother and a sister who keeps straying away from school. She finds relief with her friends and yet have to go through betrayal later on.  

The Korean culture is shown in the film as well as the story also emphasizes on women and their roles in the Korean society. She slightly mentions how education can play a part in changing a woman’s life. Kim beautifully tells a slice of life story of the growing pains of an adolescent girl and the everyday dealings of life at that age.  House of Hummingbird  is featured at the TIFF Next Wave film festival.