All Around Us_posterMIFF #6: Oh, I was completely enraptured by this Japanese gem.  All Around Us (Gururi no Koto) was a beautifully measured film about a young Tokyo couple finding their way through their early years of marriage.  The carefree Kanao and fragile Shoko got married because Shoko fell pregnant and at first their relationship is stiff and strained. As the years pass, we follow their challenges in the face of personal tragedy, the impact of their work in their lives and their changing relationship with family.

The film was marked by a delicate, spare style where the director Ryosuke Hashiguchi was able to convey whole storylines and emotions with just a few shots. The two leads, unbelievably both first timers, were pitch-perfect.

I was misty-eyed for most of the 140 minutes and the film was at times quietly witty, terribly sad and very real in its exploration of the poignancy of ordinary happiness.  It’s my highlight of the film festival so far and I’m disappointed that I attended the last screening so others won’t be able to experience it now.