United Kingdom, Japan, 2008, 70’
English, Japanese with Turkish and English subtitles
Director: Sean McAllister
The British director Sean McAllister films himself while running. Panting, he tells us that he has spent almost two years in Japan now and is gradually going crazy because he just can't get through to the closed country and its people. Until he meets Naoki, a 56-year-old part-time mailman who symbolizes the tens of thousands of Japanese who belong to the "working poor" a subclass that has existed ever since the economic crisis of the early 1990s. Naoki used to have everything: houses, companies, and cars, but he lost everything, too. Today, he shares a windowless, one-room apartment with his 29-year-old girlfriend Yoshie. "She hates me, I need her," is his concise explanation of their relationship. She saved him from homelessness and works 15 hours a day to support him. He has a great deal of difficulty with these roles, mostly due to injured pride. There's also the fact that their sex life is nonexistent. Because of all his psychological problems, Naoki can't get an erection and Viagra is too expensive something that deepens his fear Yoshie will leave him. Impelled by McAllister's presence, they sometimes discuss the subject, but in Japan, people don't really talk about their feelings. The conclusion is that they can't live with or without each other: it's truly A Story of Love and Hate.