NOBODY TO WATCH OVER ME
Dare mo mamotte kurenai
Release : Jan-24-2009 Duration : 118min.
©︎2009 FUJI TELEVISION NETWORK, NIHON EIGA SATELLITE BROADCASTING CORPORATION, TOHO
Director : Ryoichi Kimizuka (GOOD MORNING SHOW) Screenplay : Ryoichi Kimizuka (GOOD MORNING SHOW) Screenplay : Satoshi Suzuki (WANKO - The Story of Me, My Family and My Dog)
Ryoichi Kimizuka, known as a established screenwriter of the landmark “Bayside Shakedown” series, pours his consummate flair for human drama into a scathing critique of contemporary Japanese society with “NOBODY TO WATCH OVER ME” also as a director for his second feature film.
Shot entirely on location with a hand-held camera to heighten the realism of the action and actors’ performances, the docudrama-like narrative about a cop trying to protect a young girl from an angry public is likely to touch a sensitive nerve among Japanese audiences, while providing foreign audiences with revealing insights into the pervasive ethic of shame and the role of the “family” in Japanese society.
A 15-year-old middle school girl is picked up at school by the police when her elder 18-year-old brother is arrested on suspicion of randomly murdering two grade school girls. She is put under the protection of a dedicated yet conflicted police detective who has orders to shield the girl from the inevitable public outrage that is to follow. Through these two protagonists’ eyes, we get a glimpse into the vulnerability, the isolation and even the resilience of the individual when up against a volatile and often intolerant world.
“They will pursue and condemn you for the rest of your life.”
When a heinous crime is committed in Japan, society lays the blame on the victimizer’s family.
“The police are bringing him out now! The 18-year-old boy who is believed to have randomly murdered two grade school girls last month has just left his home in police custody!”
The Funamuras are a typical suburban family of four. At least it seems so… until the police barge in on the home one afternoon to arrest the eldest child, an 18-year-boy old studying for college entrance exams, but who is the leading suspect in a highly-publicized murder of two grade school sisters.
Detective Katsuura (Koichi Sato) of the Toyoshima Police Precinct in Tokyo is about to spend some much-needed time away from the job to patch up relations with his estranged wife and daughter when he gets called out on a highly irregular assignment - to assist in the protection of family members of the murder suspect. “Protect them from what?” he queries. But seeing the rabble of reporters, gawkers and outraged citizens outside the Funamura’s doorstep, he begins to understand. “Sometimes the sudden disintegration of normalcy and the enormous pressure of public censure can drive the suspect’s family members to suicide,” explains his police chief. “We come in to prevent that. We need the family to prosecute the case.”
Indeed, the police manual for this type of assignment calls for separating family members and taking them to undisclosed locations for questioning. Katsuura is put in charge of protecting the 15-year-old daughter, Saori (Mirai Shida), but the relentless media circus proves impossible to shake, forcing the two to flee Tokyo for the countryside. But even there, angry citizens use Internet billboards to hunt them down. With no place to hide, Katsuura and Saori find themselves forced to confront their overturned lives.