The Land of Hope

Prolific Japanese director SONO Sion (LOVE EXPOSURE, HIMIZU) takes a step back from his usual over-the-top film-making style for a restrained drama dealing with a family’s struggles after the aftermath of a Fukushima-style nuclear power plant explosion in their town.

Set in the fictional Nagashima Prefecture (a name combining those of Nagasaki, Fukushima and Hiroshima – 3 cities affected by nuclear disasters), the Ono family finds themselves torn apart when a large earthquake strikes and sends the local nuclear power plant into meltdown. The 20km exclusion zone set by the government goes right through their front yard and for their family’s future they make the hard decision for the son and his wife to flee while the older parents stay to keep their heritage alive.

Fans of SONO will know that he has a unique story-telling style and it’s very interesting to see a different and very mature side of him, dealing with such an important subject matter. Having such an established director handling a topic like the Fukushima disaster focuses global attention to the plight of those affected and highlights their need for continued assistance.