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Film / Shara

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Shara (沙羅双樹) is a movie by documentary and art-house film director Kawase Naomi, and released in 2003. It tells the story of a Japanese family living in Nara, once the capital of Japan. Kei and Shun, two twin boys, play in the street, when Kei suddenly disappears without a trace, as though he had been "abducted by the gods". The story jumps to five years later: Shun is now a teenager; the father involves himself in the preparation of the Basara Matsuri, a street festival in honor of the Bodhisattva Jizo; and the mother is about to give birth to another child. Shun and his classmate Yu share a mutual attraction, but can't bring themselves to admit it to each other.

As the date of the festival approaches, Kei's body is finally found, enabling the family to grieve and experience closure. Meanwhile, Yu learns the secret of her birth. When the festival takes place, it is an opportunity for release and the primal celebration of life. The next day, the mother gives birth to her third child.


Contains examples of:

  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: Yu's mother turns out to be her aunt.
  • Flyaway Shot: At the end of the film, the camera zooms out, pans the rooftops, and then the image segues to a view of the city from a helicopter flying higher and higher.
  • Happy Rain: During the festival, everyone gets drenched by a sudden downpour but it feels like a blessing in the summer heat.
  • Shrines and Temples: The family lives in the old center of Nara, a neighborhood with several Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. The movie depicts the religious ceremonies that take place on the occasion of the festival.
  • Shrinking Violet: Subverted by Yu, who looks like one until she reveals her wilder side during the Basara Matsuri.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Yu's mother. Her aunt, actually. She's always seen wearing a kimono and affects traditional mannerisms.