Tatsuo and Chinatsu, two deeply wounded people, fall in love – but their trials are far from over.

In the north of Japan, amidst the ruins of a coastal town, a man who has lost sight of where he is going meets a woman who has discarded all hope for living. However, a harsh reality will ruthlessly take away even the tiny bit of hope they have finally found.

Tatsuo has quit his job and lives a daily existence of self-indulgence. At the home of Takuji, he meets Takuji’s beautiful older sister, Chinatsu. Tatsuo is captivated by Chinatsu, who is burdened by family difficulties - her bedridden father, burned out mother and convicted-of-murder younger brother –but that is not the only sorrow she bears.

The sense of emptiness of the emotionally wounded Tatsuo, the sad beauty of Chinatsu and the awkward kindness of the violent, yet amiable Takuji are superbly portrayed by the actors in this heart-breaking film. Depicting people finding a ray of light and attempting to live in a hopeless world, ‘The Light Shines Only There’ is tinged with intense feelings and heavy sadness.

By the end of the brief summer, the finale, illuminated by the light of love and hope from out of despair, is not to be missed.

Akihiro Suzuki

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