Okay, on...whatever day this was I first saw CICADA, which is a charming and thoughtful story about a little boy's birthday party and how it affects...everyone but him. The boy is almost invisible in the movie. Instead the story is mostly about his uncle Jumpei, a teacher who likes children but is disappointed to find out he's infertile. Anyway, his nephew is being bullied in school and his mother and father (who's a gambling addict) decide to throw him a big birthday party to make him popular. The cast is rounded out by other odd adults who haven't quite grown up--my favorite being the old man who builds shadow-box stories with endings and morals that, while realistic, are not necessarily appropriate for kids (at least, that's what everyone else says, I think they're great.) As the day of the party approaches, the adults get sillier and sillier, and Jumpei develops a psychic ability to find cicada shells, which...actually becomes important. A quiet and meditative look at being a child of any age in Japan today.
And then I saw DOT2DOT. Set in fast-paced, ever-changing Hong Kong, it's a story of deliberate slow-living, noticing the things around you, and remembering the past. Oh yeah, and it's about graffiti, a crime that's actually punished fairly heavily in Hong Kong. Chung has moved back to Hong Kong after living abroad for a while in Canada. And instead of getting into the fast-paced Hong Kong life, he sets about leaving mysterious dot graffiti all over town. Like a connect-the-dots without the numbers, his dots actually do make pictures. It's just impossible for anyone to tell what they are (or even that the dots were deliberately placed there.) Enter a teacher from the mainland. She's alone in the big, bustling city. And she discovers the dots and actually solves them. And then starts leaving dot puzzles of her own. A romance where the leads don't actually meets starts to unfold, and it's a charming story of finding your place and your place in the world.
Total Running Time: 189
My Total Minutes: 391,620