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37 Seconds (2020) Film Review

Updated: Apr 17, 2020

37 Seconds
Image credit: Netflix

From a manga artist who is invisible to the world, that alters the path of her life and becomes remarkable, 37 seconds directed by Hikari, is a masterpiece that tackles topics such as people with cerebral palsy, love and friendship. Won the Audience Award at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival and selected for the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival, it’s beyond question that the film is powerful, aesthetically beautiful and heart-warming.

The desire for freedom, to be visible and of course to be loved, all those complex emotions are portrayed in the early part of the film. Yuma Takada (by actress Mei Kayama) tries to do things by herself includes going home from the station and waking up in the morning. From Yuma’s surrounding and daily life to her journey of soul searching, the film shifts away from the stereotype of drama and focus on the character’s inner-self. Without much dialogue needed, the viewers can get the message already from the act of looking with brilliant cinematography.

37 Seconds
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"Disable or not, that's totally up to you” said Mai (by actress Makiko Watanabe) who is a sex worker. Mai and Toshiya (by actor Shunsuke Daito) became an essential part of Yuma’s transformation journey. The acceptance and understanding between them are so pure, as a way of telling ourselves this is who we all should be, this is how we should be treating one another. Director Hikari doesn’t focus on the person with cerebral palsy, but looking at her just like everybody else. And that’s perhaps the most important message from the film as well, be yourself, be comfortable as you are, and love one another.

37 Seconds’ soundtrack is done by ASKA (Aska Matsumiya), the melo synthesiser style certainly adds the mysterious and spacious atmosphere to the film. The fully energetic, animated and punk style from CHAI (Japanese band), is such brilliant combination that certainly lifts the film up to another level.

37 Seconds is now available on Netflix. Highly recommended to go check it out.

Read more about 37 Seconds at Nippon, Los Angeles Times, The Hollywood Reporter.

Learn more about Inclusive language from Australian Network on Disability.

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