I will be very curious how FATHER OF THE MIKY WAY RAILWAY is received by the general public. The film is a portrait of the author Kenji Miyazawa through the eyes of his father who loved and supported his son even if he didn’t always understand what he was doing. The younger Miyazawa was responsible for dozens of poems and stories, the most famous of which is NIGHT ON THE MILKY WAY RAILWAY which has influenced generations of people across the globe (it is a tale I carry around in my heart happily free of charge). The reason I’m curious about how the film will play by the general public in America is that the vast majority of people here don’t know Miyazawa’s work, except perhaps RAILWAY and even then probably through the anime from several decades back. I mention this because while FATHER is a bio pic of the father and son much of the film is tied into the stories and poems of the son. The film is bookended by references to RAILWAY, other passage reference other bits of his work, though less overtly. Knowing, to various degrees, the son’s writing added immeasurably to what I was seeing. I could make connections to deeper subtexts and I saw how what happened in his life ended up in the stories. Additionally the final images left me a sobbing mess because of RAILWAY.
Frankly I loved the film, but I could reference the work of its subject, I’m not sure how that will play out for those who don’t now the stories.
Reservations aside this is still a hell of a ride