April Story ( Shigatsu monogatari )
A Blossoming Life
While it has a condensed story and a limited timeframe, there is a richness to Iwai's character study of a young woman's transition from her rural upbringing to independent university life in the big city. Wonderfully acted and rife with moments of true sincerity, it canvasses the trepidation, discoveries and emergence identifiable to anyone undertaking such a journey.
Make no mistake, this is genuine human drama and romance. As a college film not about white trash, and devoid of alcohol, sexual shenanigans and pee and poop jokes, it won't have much resonance amongst the crowd of copper-tanned airheads and their knuckle-dragging hole-fillers that guffawed over'Sorority Boys' and 'College'. This is university life for those experiencing it; a phenomenographic account of growth and perspective within the Japanese culture, all gorgeously captured (as typical) by late great Noboru Shinoda.