Japanese Film Festival | Satellite

Life and Death on the Shore


Directed by: Michio Koshikawa

Year: 2017

Length: 155 minutes

Classification rating: All

Screens in:


Screened as part of JFF 2017

This picturesque war romance unfolds against the stunning backdrop of Kakeromajima in the Amami Islandsduring the tail end of World War II. Manila has fallen and Tokyo is burning, but life in Kakeromajima continues undisturbed. However, the Imperial Japanese Navy continue to arrive, concealing Shinyo suicide boats within the island.

Toé (Hikari Mitsushima, Gukoroku) is a daughter of the island and devoted schoolteacher to the local children. Saku (Kento Nagayama, Sanada 10 Braves) is a hesitant young captain who would rather spend time reading books and learning island songs in the local language. They are both drawn to each other, but are careful to overstep any personal boundaries.

When Toé receives a letter from Saku to meet by the beach, they begin a secret romance by the shade of night. However, their time together cannot last — as the war looms closer, the lovestruck couple runs out of borrowed time.

The story is based on the autobiographical writings of Miho and Toshio Shimao, who originally met in Amami Island during the war before marrying. Filmmaker Michio Koshikawa is unafraid of static shots and long pauses in between dialogues, masterfully using silence to build tension that leads to bittersweet longing. Composer Taku Unami composesthe musical score, layering it with the sounds of nature, local folk songs, and the unique sound of the Amami language.
Audience warning: Contains mild themes of war, mild nudity and very mild sexual content

Director: Michio Koshikawa

Executive Producer: Suzuko Hatanaka

Producers: Eriko Seino and Ken-ichiro Zaizen

Original Story: Miho Shimao and Toshio Shimao

Screenplay: Michio Koshikawa

Script Supervisor: Kumiko Kakehashi

Cast: Hikari Mitsushima, Kento Nagayama, Kai Inowaki, Seira Hata, Kiyoshi Ikeru, Yota Kawase and Masane Tsukayama

Genre: Period

Format: DCP colour