Q&A WITH DIRECTOR TAKUYA MATSUNAGA
Haruki and Nao have lived at the same care home for more than ten years. While other children come and go, the two teenagers have formed an unusually close bond, in part because Nao is deaf and Haruki has taken her under his protection since the moment they first met. A loner at school, he forgoes the fun of a carefree teenage life for a part-time job. Then one day he is approached by Aki, a rather ebullient classmate of his, who has decided that Haruki should be a member of his rock band as he is left-handed – “like Kurt Cobain.”Haruki initially refuses, but eventually learns to play the guitar and joins band practice, making perhaps his first friends ever outside the care home. Nao, unable to take part in this world of sound, increasingly feels left out.
Shindo, Hirano Asami’s debut feature-length film after several shorts began as an award-winning script at the Isama Studio Film Festival. Although rocking with plenty of music, it is a quiet coming-of-age movie that focuses particularly on Haruki as a too adult youngster that rather than grow up needs first to grow down. It is a short and simple story but sweetly satisfying, with the director’s sensitivity towards his characters showing plenty of potential for future projects.