Mark Schilling, Satoshi Miki
Atsuko Maeda, Ryo Narita, Seiji Rokkaku, Yuki Katayama, Eri Fuse
Free Stone Productions
Kato (Ryo Narita, HOMUNCULUS), an aspiring screenwriter, can’t seem to catch a break. He’s working on something, but it’s not going anywhere; he wastes time pitching to eccentric executives, but no luck there whatsoever. Doors remain closed. Furthermore, his relationship with actress Zigzag is increasingly volatile. Asked to step out buy a specific brand of dog food for her beloved pooch Cerberus, the young scribe finds himself on an unexpected path of karmic comeuppance. A questionable detour in judgement brings him from one convenience store to another—stranded in the middle of desolate field of grass. This fantastical establishment is run by a mysterious couple that gets Kato into hot waters—the kind that might very deliver him from his slump.
Developed out of Fantasia’s own Frontières Co-Production Market, CONVENIENCE STORY is a homecoming of sorts for Satoshi Miki (ADRIFT IN TOKYO), who unveils his two latest films at this year’s festival (see also: WHAT TO DO WITH THE DEAD KAIJU?). In contrast with the blockbuster aspirations of his kaiju eiga-with-a-twist, this down-to-earth fantasia sees the eccentric director return to his indie roots with a character study as focused as it is otherworldly. The film also marks the screenwriting debut of Japanese cinema expert and noted Japan Times critic Mark Schilling, author of No Borders, No Limits: Nikkatsu Action Cinema. It’s a collaboration that brings to Miki’s quirky universe a simmering psychological tension. A Faustian tale about the proverbial fork in the road, it will have you reconsider the moral weight and ineffable quality of the creative process. – Ariel Esteban Cayer
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