Monday, July 31, 2023

Wandering (2023) Japan Cuts 2023


When Sarassa was nine she ran away from her aunt. She was found by 19 year old Fumi who took her home and lived with her as a sister. Two months later they were found by the police and Fumi was labeled a kidnapper and suspected a pedophile. Fifteen years later the pair run into each other.

Based on a novel by Yu Nagira, WANDERING is a film that is going to rattle any number of people. Raising a number of ethical and moral questions the film doesn't have any easy answers. While the film original encounter between the pair isn't sexual, thus setting up questions about how we perceive events like this and it also makes us wonder how people are affected by events like this.

I'm not sure how to review this. The fact is that my thoughts are kind of split regarding the film. Part  of me is really intrigued by the issues the film raises.  I absolutely love that the film makes us question how we see stories like this and what is going on. On the other hand I know that this is a film that potentially is going to push people's buttons.  Even if you don't think the subject will bother you the film is such that there is a good chance it's going to kick some stuff up.  Part of of me doesn't want to talk about the film for that reason while another part  of me want's me to really talk about it because it raises questions that are not easy deal with.

At the same time I have mixed feelings about the film as a film.  I understand why I have mixed feelings, it's because of choices made by director Sang-il Lee but that doesn't make me like it more. Lee leans into the serious and thought provoking nature of the story so that we can't dismiss it. However doing so makes the film feel less real and more the handiwork of the director. I would have liked the tone to be less like a novel and more like real life. Also as good as the film is I'm not sure if we need  the this to be as long as it it.

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