The Town of Whales

Even if this 68-minute vignette doesn't break out beyond fests, debuting helmer Keiko Tsuruoka's fresh voice promises bigger projects to come.

With:
With: Momoko Tobita, Sui Katano, Sakiko Yamaguchi, Kentaro Sato, Masaru Nakashima. (Japanese dialogue)

Cool as a summer drizzle, Nipponese coming-of-ager “The Town of Whales” is so slight that it will come and go without a trace, leaving only the afterthought “Oh, to be young.” Skipping from a search for a missing brother to a love triangle to a philosophical meditation on whales (not necessarily in that order of significance), the brief, almost impromptu story captures a tremulous moment of transition from youth to adulthood, from friendship to love. Even if this 68-minute vignette doesn’t break out beyond fests, debuting helmer Keiko Tsuruoka’s fresh voice promises bigger projects to come.

During the last summer vacation of high school, Machi (Momoko Tobita) makes a day trip to Tokyo with classmates Tomohiko (Sui Katano) and Hotari (Sakiko Yamaguchi) to look for her brother Tetsu, who disappeared from their provincial hometown six years ago. Tetsu’s whereabouts and Machi’s obsession with why whales migrated from land to sea are ultimately red herrings, as an amorous tiff drolly erupts during the trio’s stay. The protags exude dorky innocence, even in a scene in which Tomohiko awkwardly tries to molest Machi. Extensive closeups warmly convey the characters’ intimacy.

The Town of Whales

Japan

Production: A PIA Film Festival release and presentation. (International sales: PIA Film Festival, Tokyo.) Produced, directed, written, edited by Keiko Tsuruoka.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), art director/costume designer, Risa Takeuchi; sound (stereo), Noriko Takeuchi; line producer,Hiroshi Nagai; assistant director, Risa Takeuchi. Reviewed at Busan Film Festival (New Currents, competing), Sept. 6, 2012. Running time: 68 MIN.

With: With: Momoko Tobita, Sui Katano, Sakiko Yamaguchi, Kentaro Sato, Masaru Nakashima. (Japanese dialogue)

More Film

  • Rebel Wilson and Taye Diggs

    Concert Review: 'Beauty and the Beast' Gets Adoring Tribute at Hollywood Bowl

    Cool as a summer drizzle, Nipponese coming-of-ager “The Town of Whales” is so slight that it will come and go without a trace, leaving only the afterthought “Oh, to be young.” Skipping from a search for a missing brother to a love triangle to a philosophical meditation on whales (not necessarily in that order of […]

  • Solo a Star Wars Story Deadpool

    It's Official: Deadpool Is Now Cooler Than Han Solo

    Cool as a summer drizzle, Nipponese coming-of-ager “The Town of Whales” is so slight that it will come and go without a trace, leaving only the afterthought “Oh, to be young.” Skipping from a search for a missing brother to a love triangle to a philosophical meditation on whales (not necessarily in that order of […]

  • solo a star wars story

    Box Office: 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Headed for Underwhelming Holiday Weekend Debut

    Cool as a summer drizzle, Nipponese coming-of-ager “The Town of Whales” is so slight that it will come and go without a trace, leaving only the afterthought “Oh, to be young.” Skipping from a search for a missing brother to a love triangle to a philosophical meditation on whales (not necessarily in that order of […]

  • solo a star wars story

    How the Kasdans Settled the Biggest Debate in 'Star Wars' History With 'Solo'

    Cool as a summer drizzle, Nipponese coming-of-ager “The Town of Whales” is so slight that it will come and go without a trace, leaving only the afterthought “Oh, to be young.” Skipping from a search for a missing brother to a love triangle to a philosophical meditation on whales (not necessarily in that order of […]

  • Morgan Freeman Sexual Harassment

    Morgan Freeman Issues New Statement: 'I Did Not Assault Women'

    Cool as a summer drizzle, Nipponese coming-of-ager “The Town of Whales” is so slight that it will come and go without a trace, leaving only the afterthought “Oh, to be young.” Skipping from a search for a missing brother to a love triangle to a philosophical meditation on whales (not necessarily in that order of […]

  • Euphoria Review

    Cannes Film Review: 'Euphoria'

    Cool as a summer drizzle, Nipponese coming-of-ager “The Town of Whales” is so slight that it will come and go without a trace, leaving only the afterthought “Oh, to be young.” Skipping from a search for a missing brother to a love triangle to a philosophical meditation on whales (not necessarily in that order of […]

  • David Permut

    David Permut, Naomi Kawase Join Shanghai Festival Jury

    Cool as a summer drizzle, Nipponese coming-of-ager “The Town of Whales” is so slight that it will come and go without a trace, leaving only the afterthought “Oh, to be young.” Skipping from a search for a missing brother to a love triangle to a philosophical meditation on whales (not necessarily in that order of […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content