Ryota doesn’t know why he fell in love with Ai. But this is their love story anyway.
To say that Ai Shima has had a tough life is an understatement. Trapped in a series of cults and gangs throughout her formative years, Ai has never found her place in life. Throughout her many phases, the only person who understood her is another social outcast, Ryota (Kenta Suga).
Born in a small town in Japan, a young Ai (Sairi Ito) is sent to a cult commune by her religious maniac mother and lives there for seven long years.
After the cult was dissolved by the police, Ai starts a new stage of life. She attends a normal school for the first time, where she meets the quiet and aloof Ryota (Kenta Suga), who hangs out with wannabe gangsters outside of class. While it only seems natural to get involved with the yakuza, Ryota knows that there’s a way out if he cuts a path out for himself. But things are different for Ai—she drops out of school and trouble continues to follow her into deeper, more corrupted waters.
Love and Other Cults is a different kind of coming-of-age film. It portrays the lives of young people struggling in a place where there is no way out. Director and writer Eiji Uchida manages to pack a punch with this darkly comedic and gritty coming of age film, tackling social issues such as child neglect, teenage gangs and the sex industry.
The cast includes the talented Sairi Ito and Kenta Suga, who started as child actors, fast-rising newcomer Kaito Yoshimura, and some “real local delinquents” which created a unique situation in which the shooting took place under the local police’s supervision.
Special Guest Screening 2 December 2017, Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Melbourne)
Love and Other Cults will be screened followed by a special guest Q&A session in the cinema with director Eiji Uchida, lead actor Sairi Ito, and producer Adam Torel.
Year: 2017 Length: 94 mins Classification rating: Strictly 18+ Audience warning: This filmcontains strong themes and depictions of sex, prostitution, youth delinquency and violence; moderate language and nudity; mild drug use.