僕たちは世界を変えることができない But, We Wanna Build a School in Cambodia (2011)
One of the most poignant films I have ever seen in a long time, makes me wonder how come movies from Japan really capture my heart like no other country can do. This is a MUST-see feel-good movie especially if you are up against insurmountable odds and feel despondent. A word of warning though on the gruesome scenes and images from the Polpot era museum/torture prisons which makes even the current Iranian regime a beacon of freedom and benevolence.
Great acting from the lead guy Osamu Mukai playing the role ‘Kota Tanaka’, a medical student who was living the normal, average life, having fun with his friends, going to clubs at night, but always felt that something is missing. One day, he chanced upon a pamphlet with the picture of a Southeast Asian boy smiling. It is asking for voluntary donations to build a school in Cambodia. On that instant, his life changed. With the help of his friends, he launched a massive campaign to ask for donations and find ways to raise money. The movie is particularly touching as Kota lacks the skills of public speaking. In the clubs, he has to make a speech to disseminate information about his Cambodia project, but he stammered and in general was painfully awkward. In one of the scenes, he removed all his clothes and spoke on his underwear to get his message across.
Another fascinating aspect of this movie is how natural and realistic the characters are. Kota felt betrayed when he found out his friend Misturu (played by Tori Matsuzaka) is now dating the girl he likes. He got depressed and wasn’t keen to continue with his Cambodia-school project, he he even hired a prostitute to cheer him up but when he glanced at the picture and letter that was sent by his translator, it got so awkward and was apologising to the girl. In the end, he and his friend Mitsuru reconciled and push on with building the school.
With regards to Abe Hiroshi, he has like 4 lines in the script as Prof Kondo (in Medical school), so kinda reminiscent of Team Batista. Nice delivery and overall suave acting.
Here is the link to the full movie.