Directed by Ryohei Watanabe
Entertainment Award, 2012 Pia Film Festival
Best Picture, 2012 Fukuoka Independent Film Festival
In SHADY, Japanese school girls have definitely gone bad. 25-year-old Ryohei Watanabe’s award-winning debut is about friendship until it takes a sharp turn into a treatise on bullying of a most surprising sort. Teased by her peers and with no friends of her own, Misa can’t believe her luck when the pretty and popular Izumi takes her under her wing. The unlikely pair develops a strong bond that soon fades and Misa becomes more and more frightened by her new friend’s extracurricular behaviors.
Balancing suspense and drama, SHADY is a coming-of-age story of growing up, bullying, stress, and sexuality. But what sets it apart from other tales of youth is the careful way it creates sympathy out of insecurity and the hope for emancipation through love, be it romantic or otherwise. The film has caught fire since its Pia Film Festival debut, and has even secured distribution in the UK, where audiences will soon be introduced to Watanabe’s complex of murder, suspense, and lesbian action. –Rizzhel Javier