Friday, March 28, 2008


A Gentle Breeze in the Village (天然コケッコー)

A Gentle Breeze in the Village (天然コケッコー) After the success of "Linda Linda Linda (リンダ リンダ リンダ)," Japanese director Nobuhiro Yamashita's (山下敦弘) new film "A Gentle Breeze in the Village (天然コケッコー)" (Japan 2007, 121 min.) is one of the most enjoyable and heartwarming films I have seen.

The film is set in a small remote village. Because there are only five school children, the primary school and middle school are combined together. One day, a handsome new student Hiromi Osawa joins the school. He becomes a gentle breeze in the small village, at the school, and in the heart of the eldest student Soyo. Using nothing more than the daily simple lives in the small village and at school, the film tells a tender story about these lovely characters.

Everyone has its own childhood memories, especially those from primary school and middle school. This film surely brings out the nostalgic sentiment. We can all identify with these children's experiences, even theirs might be quite different from ours. We are drawn to this quiet soothing small village and the people who live there. I wish my school had a daily broadcasting of "lunchtime news" announcing the serving of "get-along rice." I wish I were growing up in that village.

The film is beautifully shot, brilliantly directed, and terrifically performed. The pace perfectly matches the quiet peaceful country life, yet never loses the engagement with the audience.

Kaho as Soyo and Masaki Okada as Hiromi Osawa in A Gentle Breeze in the Village

It's a wonderful charming film that warms our hearts and brings out our smiles.

"A Gentle Breeze in the Village (天然コケッコー)" was shown at the 26th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF).


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