Review: ‘Going Home’

A low-key entrant in the adults-saddled-with-children sub-genre, Nipponese indie "Going Home" has sufficient heart to win slots at Asia-friendly fests. Koji Haguida's uncomplicated helming mirrors the script co-written with producer Go Riju which, though slight, is genuinely affecting at its climax.

A low-key entrant in the adults-saddled-with-children sub-genre, Nipponese indie “Going Home” has sufficient heart to win slots at Asia-friendly fests. Koji Haguida’s uncomplicated helming mirrors the script co-written with producer Go Riju which, though slight, is genuinely affecting at its climax.

Emotionally stunted worker Haruo (Hidetoshi Nishijima) returns to his hometown and unexpectedly encounters Miyuki (Reiko Kataoka), a one-night stand who mysteriously vanished. After some money goes missing from her workplace, Miyuki pulls the same disappearing stunt — this time leaving Haruo the baffled custodian of a girl (Reia Moriyama) who may or may not be his daughter. The duo’s day-long search for Miyuki recalls Wim Wenders’ “Alice in the Cities,” though later developments revive memories of Gianni Amelio’s “Stolen Children.” Unfortunately, Nishijima’s stiff performance adds little to the character of Haruo and tends to undermine the film’s narrative arc. Technical package is of the usual Japanese indie standard.

Going Home

Japan

Production

A Bitters End production, in association with Watermelon. (International sales: Bitters End, Tokyo.) Produced by Go Riju, Toshihiro Isomi, Yuji Sadai. Directed by Koji Haguida. Screenplay, Haguida, Go Riju.

Crew

Camera (color), Hiroshi Ito; music, Tomoko Konno; production designer, Etsuko Yoshida. Reviewed on videocassette, Sydney, April 30, 2005. (In Jeonju Film Festival, South Korea.) Running time: 82 MIN.

With

Hidetoshi Nishijima, Reiko Kataoka, Reia Moriyama, Ken Mituishi, Kazuko Yoshiyuki.
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