Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from director Koji Fukada and Film Movement comes a film of secrets and the pain of A GIRL MISSING.

Ichiko (Mariko Tsutsui) has spent many years working with the Oisho family’s taking care of their ailing mother. Close to the family she also helps Motoko (Mikako Ichikawa) study for an exam that would allow her to also be a private nurse like Ichiko.

When not at working, Ichiko is enjoying her life with a fiancé who has a young son and making a life with them. One day Motoko’s younger sister Saki can’t be found, and the police are everywhere looking for her. Ichiko does her best to tell the police what she knows as well wanting the girl found.

That is when these two family’s paths cross even more as Ichiko discovers that it is her own nephew that is being accused of the crime. Motoko defends her friend and Ichiko is appreciative not knowing there is something more traumatic about to come into her life. The media swarm Ichiko causing havoc in her relationship, at work and being dismissed by the Oisho family.

Trying to undo the damage, Ichiko finds herself on a destructive path that can only lead her to one place – right back at the beginning.

Tsutsui as Ichiko portrays her character as a very warm and understanding person. Making a life with her fiancé and becoming a stepmother is something she is accepting but doesn’t seem really to look forward to. When the madness begins, it becomes clear that everything she wanted for her future is about to be destroyed. Tsutsui is endearing and calmly terrifying at the same time.

Ichikawa as Motoko is a young woman who wants to be just like Ichiko and become a private nurse. Looking up to Ichiko turns into something more sad but dangerous at the same time. Turning someone’s life upside down does not seem to be something this character has issue with. The talks between the women become weapons for both.

Other cast include Sosuke Ikematsu as Kazumichi Yoneda.

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The Bonus Features of the film include: Making of Featurette, Bonus Short Film: Love Comes Later directed by Sonejuhi Sinha which is an unexpected discovery forces an undocumented motel employee to make a life changing decision.

This film tells the story of a woman just moving along with her life giving the feeling that she settles for everything she does. From her job as a private nurse (although very caring towards the elder Oisho matriarch), to her relationship and future marriage and life in general.

It is what comes next that turns everything inside out and upside down making her relish the simplicity of that life. Not prepared for the lies, deceptions, shocks or revelations – it becomes almost predicted that a path of destruction brings her to a breaking point.

It is the wonderful performance of both Tsutsui and Ichikawa that keeps the suspense continuing from frame to frame. There is bomb after bomb and, quite honestly, I am surprised that Ichiko was not more reactive. Guess that says a lot about how I handle life eh?

A GIRL MISSING was nominated for a Best Film Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival and an Official Selection at Toronto and the New York Film Festival. This thriller comes in at 112 minutes with or without subtitles from Japanese to English.

In the end – it is a journey she never thought she would take.



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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.