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Maverick documentary filmmaker Kazuo Hara once again criticizes the mores and customs of Japanese society in this unsentimental portrait of adults with cerebral palsy (CP). Focusing on how the CP victims are generally ignored or disregarded in Japan, Hara challenges his societys taboos about physical differences and handicaps.
Using a deliberately harsh style, with grainy black and white photography and out-of-sync sound, Hara brings a stark realism to his subject that is raw and fresh.
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There are moments of happiness found in a tangerine orchard. There are moments of agony in which Hiroshi and his wife and son are beset by a film crew, intent upon showing the life of rejection and isolation that severely affected individuals face. Hiroshi is helpless in the face of his own helplessness. His pain is not merely palpable - it is excruciating.
The rough, overexposed images accompanied by a disjointed recording of the subjects' speech add to the stark, in-your-face refusal to smooth or sugar-coat the very real lives of these sufferers of Cerebral Palsy. Though I saw agony, I saw little self-pity. By the end of the 82 minute film, I began to be acquainted with the man inside the cruelly twisted body.
If you think you have problems, see this movie for a reality check. Learn the meaning of courage, tested day after day.