Casting Blossoms to the Sky (Dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi, 2012)
Date: Septemer 15, 2021
Location: 2220 Arts + Archives
Address: 2220 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057
Los Angeles premiere! Co-presented by the Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities.
Part one of Tragedies of Youth: Nobuhiko Obayashi’s War Trilogy.
In the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake, journalist Reiko Endo (Yasuko Matsuyuki) travels to the city of Nagaoka in Niigata Prefecture as it prepares for an annual fireworks festival memorializing the fallen victims of war. Drawn to the city by an old flame who plans to put on a war-themed play written by a mysterious student, Reiko embarks on a journey of self-discovery as she learns the storied history of Nagaoka and the ghosts of its war-torn past. Nobuhiko Obayashi’s imaginative first entry in his war trilogy is a deeply moving work of mourning, compassion and hope that ultimately celebrates the resilience of humankind in the wake of debilitating catastrophe. Drawing parallels between war and the existential threats of modern disasters, Casting Blossoms to the Sky is a film dedicated to “the children of the future from adults who lived the past.”
Although [Obayashi's] subject is youth, these are autumnal works, a spirited eye tempered with the wisdom of a long life.
Pat Padua, Spectrum Culture
A ghost story folded into a town portrait, dotted with romance and history lessons, [Casting is] a stylistic, emotional balancing act unlike anything else you’re likely to see.
Robert Abele, The Los Angeles Times
Seven Weeks pulses with more hot-blooded vitality and audacity than most films by [Obayashi’s] younger compatriots.
Don Brown, The Asahi Shimbun
[Hanagatami is] ultimately a cautionary plea to avoid the perils of the past, in the form of an auteurist fever dream.
Siddhant Adlakha, The Village Voice
[Hanagatami's] nearly three hours of dense story-telling roll by while a sprawling and vividly drawn cast of characters explore young love and the meaning of life.
Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter