Thursday, 18 April 2013

ひまわりと子犬の7日間 Sunflower and (Her) Puppies’ Seven Days






This was is of those movies you don’t really want to watch but feel like you should. The titular seven days refers to the period dogs are kept in the government shelter before being killed (in Miyazaki prefecture specifically, but I think the period is pretty standard). So it was obviously not going to be a feel-good movie. I went with two dog loving friends, one of whom has a shiba adopted from our prefectural shelter. We were expecting to have a bit of a cry, but we really weren’t prepared for how quickly the film moved into “dear god someone save that dog” territory. The entire cinema was in tears literally five minutes in, with the first dog dying within two minutes. It was utterly wrenching (don't worry, the trailers are relatively free from "I hate the human race" moments).

My local Board of Education has been promoting the film to schools and there has been an accompanying poster campaign about being prepared for a life-long commitment to a pet before deciding to keep one etc. This is sorely needed in Japan. I follow a no-kill privately run shelter called “Heart Tokushima” on facebook and although it is cheering to see the wonderful work they do, the sheer number of cats and dogs who come through and the number that the local government shelter kills rather than allowing them to take is heartbreaking. 

As a movie I don’t think ひまわりと子犬の7日間 was particularly well made. The plot is a vehicle for the message, and the story line suffers as a result. Nevertheless, it wasn’t terrible and the message is important enough that I’m happy to overlook the slightly torturous script. You can see some of the additional campaigning for shelter dogs accompanying the movie on the official website.
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6 comments:

  1. From George and Erika of http://japanhomesweethome.blogspot.jp "Thank you for this very important post. I was not aware of this movie and I'll try to promote it. The numbers are staggering when it comes to animals being needlessly killed. Pets are regarded as personal items and they are treated accordingly. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to deciding to have an animal spaded/ neutured. The most common reaction is, "Oh, I would never do such a terrible thing to my dog/ cat." Maybe if they watch a movie like this, a seed will be planted in the back of their heads. Whether the seed grows or not..."

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    1. Actually, it was unfortunate that the movie didn't even mention de-sexing. Or the role of puppy mills and petshops. But I suppose it was targeting a specific message.

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  2. Sounds like a gutwrencher, faults and all. I'd be interested in tracking down this title. Is it just in theaters right now?

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    1. Hi MC! I enjoyed your review of National Velvet, I would very much like to hear your opinion of this film too. Theaters are accepting the subsidised tickets that were distributed to schools etc until until May 31st. My guess is that it will stop showing after that; the cinema was pretty empty when I saw it in late March. Given the education focus I assume there will be a DVD release but I doubt that there will be an international version.

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    2. I'm often interested in this mix of policy-oriented education and drama, exactly because these types of films *don't* usually have any pretense of becoming a major commercial blockbuster. It's also interesting that the tickets were subsidized. But no, there usually doesn't seem to be much of a budget for an international release for films like that... I'll still try to keep a lookout.

      Thanks for the review!

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    3. No worries, if I learn anything further I will let you know (^^)d

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