THE ROUND TABLE
Directed by Isao Yukisada
Official Selection, 2014 Okinawa International Movie Festival
Kokko collects words. Big words like “imagination” and “solitude.” Adult words too, like “pervert” and “refugee” which would seem a lot more unseemly if Kokko weren’t the world’s cutest eight-year-old. Kokko plucks the words from the sky, twirling them to earth with her pencil, and collecting them in her notebook, a cryptic diary of passing fancy.
Meanwhile, her parents seem to collect kids: four in fact, including a set of older triplets, with a fifth on the way. And on this happy-go-lucky summer, Kokko collects new friends (furry and human), an eye-patch, some scratches, and a picture of a strange world that looks best from a kid’s distance. Unimpressed by adults, especially the squares sitting at her family’s round table, Kokko finds her way as a stubborn adventurer much more enamored with the precious possibilities of not-so-quiet alone time.
Director Isao Yukisada (Go, A Good Husband) collects different emotional tones, from the serious to the surreal, and slides between them with a veteran’s eye and a child’s wonder. But there’s no mistaking that the show belongs to child actress Mana Ashida (Bunny Drop, Pacific Rim) who lately has been collecting roles like she’s an adult superstar. In her first lead performance, she earns the spotlight with plucky aplomb, throwing shade at the world and winning over child and adult audiences alike. –Brian Hu
Co-presented by: Japan Society
Cast: Mana Ashida, Misato Aoyama, Jingi Irie
Cast: Ryuhei Maruyama