I’m excited for my friends at Studio Re:, whose short film “Jitensha” is an official selection being shown at this year’s Venice Film Festival — one of the top five film festivals in the world — this weekend.
From Paul, at the Worship & the Arts blog:
Jitensha grows out of the Studio Re: vision to impact Japanese culture through redemptive films. We are stunned that high up professionals in the film industry have chose our film to be part of one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world.
As I have reflected on why this happened, I think it is about the power of a good story, a story with heart, along with great production values. In other words, technically it is a well crafted film that allows the story to “connect” with the audience. Every aspect of the film is strong, the cast, the music, the locations, the cinematography, the music, and the editing — which is amazing for a low budget film made by students and emerging filmmakers in Tokyo who are committed to making films with redemptive themes.
I saw this film in August, and was pretty impressed myself. These guys are doing great work, and providing an example and inspiration to those of us with our own dreams of impacting Japanese culture through the arts.
Here’s what the movie is about:
“Jitensha” (or “Bicycle”) is a story about Mamoru Amagaya, a young man struggling to find meaning in life. A co-worker confronts Mamoru on his apparent apathy toward life, and this results in Mamoru leaving his job out of humiliation.
Now alone and without work, just as it seems that things could not possibly get worse, parts of Mamoru’s bicycle begin to disappear, one by one. In frustration, Mamoru leaves a note for the thief, begging him to just take the whole thing. The note left in response is signed “God”, leaving Mamoru only more confused.
At last, when the only remaining piece of the bicycle is a lonely bell, Mamoru receives an envelope, containing addresses at which each piece of the bicycle might be retrieved.
Puzzled yet intrigued, Mamoru embarks on a journey to resurrect and reassemble his beloved possession. As he seeks out each piece of the missing whole, Mamoru begins to discover that he himself is in a healing process. As he puts his bike together piece by piece, he realizes that he himself is in the process of being reassembled in the same way, by one far greater than himself.