Yoichi Narita, Yu Sakudo
Tsubasa Nakagawa, Itsuki Nagasawa, Rina Ikoma, Taro Suruga, Toshiro Yanagiba
Hiroyuki Sato, Naoki Segi, Ryuichi Watanabe
In a fading village in the Japanese countryside, the school is about to be closed, which weighs heavily on the students. Freshly arrived from Tokyo with his father after an acrimonious divorce, the shy Akira escapes into drawing and agrees to participate in a mural project to mark the end of the institution. One day, he sees Maki on the roof of a farm and becomes fascinated by this mysterious teenager, who has left school for unclear reasons. Later, several people witness the strange appearance of green lights. Moreover, Akira discovers a crop circle, in which Maki is lying peacefully. They become friends and swear to keep silent about this fascinating discovery. But secrets are hard to keep in a small town and in the age of social networks, rumours spread quickly.
One of our favourites of the year, the coming-of-age story FOLLOW THE LIGHT is a true gem of dazzling narrative and visual richness. Dealing with multiple themes – exclusion, bullying, financial struggle and the universal phenomenon of rural villages slowly but surely dying, this impressive debut from director and co-writer Yoichi Narita hints at a brilliant career. The sci-fi elements are beautifully introduced, and only revealed through the eyes of the characters and the impact this mysterious crop circle has on them. The young actors Tsubasa Nakagawa (THE ASADAS) and Itsuki Nagasawa (THE DAY OF DESTRUCTION) are convincing and engaging. The majestic cinematography, which highlights the magnificent rural landscapes, and the judicious use of music, recall Shunji Iwai's masterpiece ALL ABOUT LILY CHOU-CHOU. FOLLOW THE LIGHT will leave a lasting impression with its soft visual splendour and sensitive storytelling. – Translation: Rupert Bottenberg
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