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Way of Blue Sky

A gentle last-summer yarn centered on junior high school friends, the clumsily titled "Way of Blue Sky" makes up in simplicity what it lacks in emotional clout. Pic's draw locally, where it's skedded for summer release, is its cast of several semi-name teen actresses. Offshore, this is reliable material for specialist webs.

With:
With: Ayaka Morita, Takuya Nakayama, Mei Kurokawa, Kazunori Sasaki, Mikako Tabe, Rikiya Mifune, Saya Yuki, Ryo Hashizume, Aki Nishihara.

A gentle last-summer yarn centered on junior high school friends, the clumsily titled “Way of Blue Sky” makes up in simplicity what it lacks in emotional clout. Pic’s draw locally, where it’s skedded for summer release, is its cast of several semi-name teen actresses. Offshore, this is reliable material for specialist webs.

Masaki (Takuya Nakayama) is about to move to the U.S. with his parents, much to the dismay of five girls who all like him in different ways. Tomboyish Takako (Saya Yuki) always gives him a hard time; Haruna (Mikako Tabe) is a childhood friend; Alisa (child star Mei Kurokawa) has fancied him since a shopping trip in nearby Shibuya; Naoko (Aki Nishihara) is still readjusting after a long spell in the U.K.; and Yumi (Ayaka Morita, best of all) likes practicing basketball with him at night. All wonder who’s his “special” girl, but Masaki isn’t saying. Film is constructed in tiny building blocks which start to take shape in the second half — to no great dramatic resolution but as a group portrait of friendship at a watershed. Ensemble playing is good, tech package clean.

Way of Blue Sky

Japan

Production: A Media Factory, Movie-eye Entertainment presentation of a Movie-eye Entertainment production. (International sales: Movie-eye, Tokyo.) Produced by Taku Ushiyama. Executive producers, Hiroyuki Inada, Hiroshi Matsumoto, Noriko Kirisawa, Kaz Tadashiki. Directed by Masahiko Nagasawa. Screenplay, Yuji Yamamura, Asako Hyuga.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Tetsuo Hattori; editor, Syuichi Kakesu; music, San Bao; art director, Mayumi Tomita. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 19, 2005. Running time: 103 MIN.

With: With: Ayaka Morita, Takuya Nakayama, Mei Kurokawa, Kazunori Sasaki, Mikako Tabe, Rikiya Mifune, Saya Yuki, Ryo Hashizume, Aki Nishihara.

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