A quiet man falls in love with an illegal immigrant. He confronts her cruel boss and is beaten up by the police. He sees his friends start a riot to free him.
On the mystical island of Okinawa, dotted with US military bases, Sol (21) leads a mundane life protecting sea-turtle eggs. One day, he meets Angela (23), an illegal immigrant facing abuse from her ex-boss. Meanwhile, his childhood friend, Mia (21), turns to prostitution due to poverty, and her father Jeff (50), a war veteran, suffers from PTSD. Sol realizes the injustices in society that force such sacrifices.
In an act of bravery, he stands up to Angela′s ex-boss, and returns their money and passports to her and her coworkers. However, he is now a wanted criminal and hides in the jungle on a US military base. There, he finds an old elephant. 50 years ago, the elephant had been brought over from a foreign country and sold, but had disappeared.
Upon leaving the jungle, Sol, tries to proclaim Angela′s innocence. He and the elephant are captured by the police, but Angela manages to elude the officers, and Sol prays for her safety.
While Sol is held at police headquarters, a riot breaks out. The mob demands Sol’s release. He is violently tormented for his righteous actions. Angered by this, he witnesses his friends descend into a cycle of violence. Amidst the crowd, he spots Jeff, Mia, and Angela in disguise, giving him hope.
One day, I read an article and a line on righteous violence has remained ingrained in my thoughts ever since. Intrigued by Okinawa′s blend of shamanism and militarism, I am eager to film there, drawing inspiration from interviews with locals over four years.
In 2022, a boy lost his eye due to police brutality, which sparked a riot at the Okinawa police headquarters, deeply impacting my narrative. Through each character′s perspective, my film conveys the futility of violence and conflict while emphasizing peace, hope, and compassion. Despite ongoing global war and conflict, I aspire for this movie to reach a wide audience, urging them to contemplate the consequences of violence and the importance of seeking peace.
Hasei Kohki, the director, brings a warm and unique perspective, with an abounding love for the vulnerable and a refusal to resort to stereotypes. His debut film, Blanka (Hasei Kohki, 2015), achieved global success after premiering at the Venice International Film Festival 2015. Now, his second film is set on Okinawa, an island in a border region with a complex history and many US military bases. It is both a frontline for fighter jets and a popular tourist destination rich in history. Through the metaphors of elephants and sea-turtles, and characters filled with warmth and love for the vulnerable, the film aims to portray a "hope" that transcends all barriers, resonating with audiences worldwide. Kohki′s approach as a compassionate storyteller captures the essence of human emotion and experience.
After Godog (2008), a short film that captured life among the garbage piles and graveyards of the Philippines, Kohki made his feature-length directorial debut with Blanka (2015), a story about a child living on the streets who dreams of “buying” a mother. It won the Magic Lantern award, as well as the Sorriso Diverso award granted by journalists, at Venice International Film Festival 2015. Kohki has received 20 awards at film festivals around the world, including the gold prize for new directors at the Kaneto Shindo Awards 2017 in Japan.
Ohno Atsuko, a Japanese producer based in Paris, started her career as a production manager on Demonlover (Olivier Assayas, 2002). Since then, she has produced fiction and documentary films, including Marebito (Shimizu Takashi, 2004), and AA (Aoyama Shinji, 2006). Her works include international productions, such as Musica Cubana (German Kral, 2004), Tokyo! - Merde (Leos Carax, 2008), Ama-san (Cláudia Varejão, 2016), and Bangkok Nites (Tomita Katsuya, 2016). Her latest work, Tenzo (Tomita Katsuya, 2019), was selected for Critics′ Week at Cannes Film Festival 2019.
Ishige Eisuke is the president of Transformer production company, founded in 1993 and now widely covering the film business, including theatrical releases and video distribution as well as production design and sound effects. We produce author-driven films, such as women′s wrestling story The Chrysanthemum and the Guillotine (Zeze Takahisa, 2018). We also distribute highly acclaimed films, including Mass (Fran Kranz, 2021) and Collective (Alexander Nanau, 2019). Kore-eda Hirokazu is a long-time collaborator for production design, including for his latest film, Monster (Kore-eda Hirokazu, 2023).