Japanese: 青い鳥 (2008)
Abe Hiroshi plays the role of a substitute teacher for a class tormented with the memories of a student suicide from bullying. This topic is not really my cup of tea as I find it too exaggerated (because I have no experienced of being bullied or bullying another person for that matter).
What intrigued me when reading the plot is that Abe Hiroshi’s character is a stuttering teacher, in my opinion is quite a challenging role. He usually gets the kakkoi roles of detectives, lawyers and yakuzas and so being someone with a disability is something unusual. I think it’s comparable with Oguri Shun’s wonderful performance in the drama “Summer Snow” when he played the role of a semi-deaf boy.
The central theme of the film probably depicts the main difference in the mentality between Eastern and Western cultures. If the same thing happened in the West, the first step would be to heal the wounds, forget the past and move on. But ‘Aoi Tori’ conveys the actual opposite, that is “do not forget your sins and carry the burden for the rest of our life.” In the West, this is seen as being too harsh on oneself. In the East, it is just a way of life of being a decent and responsible human being.
“Reflecting, apologising, forgetting then starting all over again is cowardly. Carrying the burden for the rest of your life – that is called responsibility.” Aoi Tori -,The Blue Bird (2008)
Anyway, having a stuttering fellow to handle a class filled with bullies is just the least logical move that school officials could do. It just doesn’t make sense.
Lastly, just nitpicking, the make-up artist and lighting director should be blamed for Abe-san’s very pale almost ghost-like complexion. From the thumbnails, I thought his character was the one who actually committed suicide and now coming back as a spirit.