I Wish is an absolute delight. It tells the story of two young brothers whose parents have split up; the mother took the elder brother to live with her parents, leaving the father and younger brother behind. The split was acrimonious, and so the boys must communicate by phone, in secret. The mother’s family live in a town across the water from an active volcano; its looming presence fills the sky and ash falls more or less all the time, coating the town in a dull film that has to be constantly cleaned up. It’s a state of depressed limbo that reflects the lives of the family; things are unresolved. The film centres around the elder boy’s desire to bring the family back together; he decides that if the volcano exploded it would resolve things once and for all by forcing an evacuation of his town, and his parents to reunite. He ends up leading an expedition of children, each bringing a desire of their own, on a quest to reach a magic place where two Shinkansen trains will pass each other for the first time, which the kids believe will create enough energy to make wishes come true.
London Film Festival 2011 – Days 3-5
I Wish (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2011)