5 Centimeters Per Second: A Chain of Short Stories About Their Distance [秒速5センチメートル] (2007)
Starring Kenji Mizuhashi, Yoshimi Kondo, Satomi Hanamura, Ayaka Onoue
Directed by Makoto Shinkai
I have to admit to a bit of disappointment with this film. After Makoto Shinkai’s other films I wanted another thought-provoking science fiction tale, but this time around he sticks to a straight up love story. This isn’t really surprising since both Voices of a Distant Star, and The Place Promised in Our Early Days had a very heavy romantic element underscoring the sci-fi, but I was still hoping for the creative ideas that made his prior works so intriguing.
Not that this is a bad film at all. Its focus on a single aspect gives a degree of depth to his recurrent themes of love and longing that his earlier films don’t have, and I’ve come to a better understanding of his take on things. Shinkai’s world is a bittersweet one, filled with missed opportunities, lost nerves, and lovers kept apart by fate. But despite the sadness laced throughout its themes of separated lovers, this is not a dismal story. Its heroes are not the tragic figures of Shakespeare. Even failure is a bright and airy thing in this film, a precious and joyful memory to be cherished. It’s a set of themes that resonates quite well with me. I found myself identifying with the stories, and actually enjoying the film quite a bit.