This Japanese film from director Naomi Kawase slowly unfolds to tell the story of two teenagers who seek comfort in each other. Kyoko is the more confident of the two but her mother is dying and, although her father and the community rally around to ensure the end is a dignified one, there is no escape from the incredible pain she is going through. Kaito is the boy next door, less sure of himself and feeling the fall out of his parents’ split.
When a dead body is washed up on their island, the connection between Kaito’s mum and the dead man cause more ripples in the community. Kyoko wants to have a physical relationship with Kaito is reluctant. He tells his mother what he thinks of her relationships with men and demands to see his father back in Tokyo.
The waves crashing against the beach feature throughout suggesting that the water is anything but still. Life on the island continues after Kyoko’s mother’s death and Kaito finds an accommodation with his mother. The final scene of the naked swim, used in the film poster, acts as a metaphor of coming to terms with their situation.
This film, which was entered at Cannes in 2014, is a film to wash over you. Particularly affecting were the two young lead actors: Nijiro Murakami and Jun Yoshinaga.
‘Still the Water’ is in my hinterland.