Megumi Okina, Takayuki Sorita, Yuta Yamazaki
Rockwell Eyes Inc.
It’s the end of the elementary school year. A group of sixth graders are having an argument: are fireworks round, or flat? Should we watch them from the side, or the bottom? As the hours pass, and leads them towards the fireworks festival – the matsuri that will open the summer and its myriad possibilities – Nazuma, a classmate and a source of infatuation for the young boys, plots to run away from her broken home. Shunji Iwai’s FIREWORKS (a TV movie made for an anthology series, then famously remade in 2017 as an anime of the same name directed by Akiyuki Shinbô and Nobuyuki Takeuchi) is a remarkably poignant, emblematic example of the sun-soaked, high-intensity Japanese coming-of-age tale we have known to know and love. An early manifestation of Iwai’s unique gift for capturing pivotal moments in life, it moves swiftly from the unique textures of memory – the heat of the summer, the mist from the poolside, the blush of first love – to the otherwise indescribable, vaporous and exciting feeling of the universe aligning, of life being glimpsed ahead, wide open. – Ariel Esteban Cayer