The Sound of Grass (草の響き), dir. Hisashi Saito, Japan 2021, 116 min., Japanese with English subtitles, 12A
Suffering from poor mental health and unable to continue with his work at a publishing company in Tokyo, Kazuo (Masahiro Higashide) decides to move back to his hometown of Hakodate together with his wife Junko (Nao). There, he starts regularly seeing psychiatrist Masako (Shigeru Muroi), who advises him to take up jogging as a form of treatment for his condition. Kazuo adopts the activity into his daily routine and, rain or shine, he persistently goes on his jogs. Gradually, as he comes to communicate with the young people he meets on his outings, something begins to change.
Director Hisashi Saito portrays the realities of life with mental health issues in Japan, adapting a novel by Yasushi Sato (the author of And Your Bird Can Sing and The Light Shines Only There) based in Hokkaido, in commemoration of the 30th anniversary since the author’s death.