November 22, 2013

The Land of Hope (2012)

The Land of Hope (2012) - Movie Review
Directed by: Shion Sono
Country: Japan / others

Movie Review: Despair and hope walk side-by-side in “The Land of Hope”, the first film to depict the consequences of 2011 Fukushima’s nuclear disaster in Japan. Set in the small village of Oba Town, the story follows a family of farmers through their journey of separation, anxiety, and tough decisions, in order to protect one another and continue living a proper life. Yasuhiko is proud to be a farmer who takes care of his forgetful wife Chieko. With them, lives the rest of the family, their son Yoichi and his wife Izumi who are expecting a baby. As their property stands half in and half out of the evacuation area, the elder couple decides to stay and send the younger away in order to protect the coming child. In parallel, we follow another young couple who was trying to find their home, now transformed in a ghostly place. The images of destruction and desolation revealed to be more subtle than strong, in an intelligent story that addresses the particular instead of focusing in the whole problem. After a faltering start, the film step by step started to reach satisfactory levels. More realistic and dramatic, and less violent and shocking (this time immoderate images were left aside), “The Land of Hope” still is a Shion Sono’s film, carrying humor in the most unexpected situations, depicting the scenes with a strangeness that involves, and making a social criticism to the way people are deceived by the Japanese government.

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