I Want to Go Home (2017)

This heartfelt, partially-animated documentary centering on a Japanese man who lost his wife in the 2011 tsunami doesn’t have any pretensions and works because of its sincerity.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Review #2,237

Dir. Wesley Leon Aroozoo
2017 | Japan/Singapore | Documentary | 61 mins | 1.85:1 | Japanese

PG (passed clean)

Cast:
Plot: A man, who lost his wife in the tsunami during the Great East Japan Earthquake, is unable to get over the sadness and sense of loss. 
Awards: Official Selection (Busan)
Source: 13 Little Pictures

Accessibility Index
Subject Matter: Moderate – Loss, Grief
Narrative Style: Straightforward
Pace: Normal
Audience Type: Slightly Arthouse

Viewed: MUBI
Spoilers: No


At only an hour long, I Want to Go Home is befitting of its length because it doesn’t need to say any more than what it already is, which is a work of sincerity and compassion. 

Wesley Leon Aroozoo’s first and only feature film so far, I Want to Go Home is a documentary centering on a Japanese man, Yasuo Takamatsu, who lost his wife in the 2011 tsunami caused by the devastating Great East Japan Earthquake. 

Made up of interviews of Yasuo years after the disaster, and intercut with footage and stills of the devastation, the film goes one step further conceptually by creatively employing animation (by Singapore’s key animation duo, Henry and Harry Zhuang) in a few sequences, giving the work a rarefied sense of visual poetry. 

“I also want to ask her where she is.”

While Yasuo is pretty much emotionally restrained when the camera’s on him, his narration accompanying the animated segments does somehow express his inner grief that hides a longing for the return of his beloved.  Because of this ‘mixed media’-style approach, it’s impossible to find any form of pretensions in the filmmaking. 

In some parts, we see Yasuo go diving, something he has been doing for a long time, in hopes of finding his beloved in the sea—there’s a bit of My Octopus Teacher (2020) vibe there, but in this case, the self-discovery isn’t so much life-changing as life-accepting. 

How can a person get over the loss of a loved one, or perhaps the question should really be: is it even possible?

Grade: B+


Trailer:

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