Chihiro Ikeda, Izumi Takahashi
Daiken Okudaira, Nana Mori, Minori Hagiwara, Haruka Kudo, Yuki Sakurai
Pony Canyon Inc.
Suffering from chronic insomnia that makes him irritable and distant, Ganta Nakami struggles to fit in at Kuyo High School. Assigned by his classmates to fetch a stepladder from the supposedly haunted observatory, he meets Isaki Magari, a cheerful student suffering from the same nocturnal condition as himself. Having herself spread the rumour about the near-abandoned place, Isaki invites Ganta to share her haven. However, an overly well-intentioned teacher discovers the ruse and urges them to resurrect the astronomy club if they want to keep their little paradise. On the advice of the club's former leader, the duo organize a stargazing event, which unfortunately falls through despite the unexpected help of several other students. Devastated, Ganta believes he is the instigator of everything that goes wrong around him, but Isaki puts things into perspective by confessing a secret that haunts her day and night. A congenital illness has left her with half a heart, and she fears dying at any moment. They will do everything in their power to preserve their sanctuary.
INSOMNIACS AFTER SCHOOL, adapted from Makoto Ojiro's acclaimed manga, is an unforgettable work of art, capable of constantly moving us from a blissful smile to gushing tears. It features a panoply of characters with whom we instantly become attached and identify. Director and co-writer Chihiro Ikeda (HIS GIRLFRIEND) combines masterful sound work, intoxicating music, and majestic wide shots of the Japanese countryside, alternating with intimate camerawork that captures the disarming authenticity of her performers Daiken Okudaira (NEMESIS) and Nana Mori (LAST LETTER). Ikeda has mastered so many elements that make cinema a unique sensory experience that her film is often reminiscent of Shunji Iwai's masterpiece ALL ABOUT LILI CHOU CHOU. INSOMNIACS AFTER SCHOOL is a luminous coming-of-age tale that makes you want to bite into life and pick yourself up every time life throws you a curveball, if only to immortalize every magical moment that makes it so precious. Stay until the end of the credits to enjoy it to the fullest. – Translation: Rupert Bottenberg
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