UK PREMIERE

If your only experience of Japanese movies is the previous boom of J-horrors led by the likes of The Ring then Soul Flower Train is a good chance to widen your horizons.

‘Gramps’ is visiting his daughter in the big city, laden down with fresh vegetables from home. On his way there he meets a young girl, Akane, who, at a loose end, offers to act as his guide and show him around the city while he waits for his daughter to finish work. Opening his eyes to the bigger world outside his own, Akane forms an unlikely but affecting bond with ‘Gramps’.

Finally meeting up with his daughter that evening, ‘Gramps’ finds their relationship strained by the discovery that she is keeping secrets from him. What follows from director Hiroshi Nishio is a touching look at the depth of love shared between families and the strength of bonds we can form with strangers. The lengths that the lovable ‘Gramps’ goes to in an effort to let his daughter know he loves her and can accept the choices she makes culminates in one of the most touching and bizarre scenes of the festival.

Mark Rogers