Directed by Satoru Hirohara
Official Selection, 2013 Busan International Film Festival
Kenji’s sister is off exploring the world while his dad is selling off the old family home. Freshly unemployed, the 30-year-old has no place to go so he just squats in his own house, waiting out the real estate developers listlessly. But it’s not his home anymore. In fact, the neighborhood kids have taken it over too, using it as a fortress for water gun fights and a canvas for their chalk masterpieces. In a world of mobility and moving on, what real use is a home?
Without resorting to simple nostalgia, HOMESICK conjures that fleeting sensation of a childhood made up of dinosaurs, candy, and staying out after the sun sets. With his old home scheduled for demolition, these are the waning days of Kenji’s own childhood, the neighborhood boys reminding him of his own youth, but also the fact that he’s actually an adult who can only take so much horseplay before a sense of responsibility kicks in.
Young director Satoru Hirohara (of the award-winning Good Morning to the World!!) takes a decidedly naturalistic approach to Kenji’s self-discovery. Music is limited to a joyous middle section when color and effervescence take over. Not unlike the lead character, the camera is static but anxious, looking to move, play, and leap, before settling in on a show-stopping final shot that preserves childhood as it recedes into the horizon. –Brian Hu