A Q&A with filmmaker Iizuka Kashou following a screening of "Our Future" at the Vancouver International Film Festival.
Surprisingly few Japanese movies, mainstream or indie, focus sympathetically on sexual minorities, and that makes Iizuka Kashou's Our Future rather special. Yu is about 18 when her parents separate (her father will move far away, to Hokkaido) and the disorientation of suddenly living in a "broken" home is compounded by the experience of starting summer cram school. Yu doesn't feel very comfortable in her own body; she gets into trouble for wearing tracksuit bottoms to school rather than the regulation skirt. Four male assholes in her class ridicule her "masculinity" and torment her for receiving love letters from a younger girl in the school. Iizuka simply follows Yu through that summer, showing her sustaining friendships with the hopeless Yoshiki, a gay boy who's dyed his hair auburn, and the transgendered dancer Haruka, who gives her the school uniform she wore when she was a boy. It's a sensitive and heartfelt film.