Directed by Hiroshi Toda | Reviewed by Samiksha Periwal
‘Live in Satsuma’ is the story of a happy and loving couple who support each other and earn a living from selling homemade tin products. The husband, Jiro questions life after reaching close to the age of his father’s death and aims to figure out his ultimate goal. On the other hand, the wife, Nobuko lives in the present by doing things that give her joy and believes in living each day with utmost gratitude for being able to be beside the love of her life. While the couple compliment each other very well in everything that they do, Jiro’s constant fear of death makes him do something that changes the dynamics of their relationship as well as relives him of his incessant fear. Whether it is fruitful or not is for you to judge after viewing this wonderfully made film which feels like a big warm hug.
This film is about understanding the meaning of one’s existence. It talks about the positivity in having a long and healthy life. The problems of old age do come with the happiness of being satisfied after living with a loved one for so long. The story beings by showing that Jiro enjoys playing with his toys, especially robots because they make him feel close to his father. They remind him of all the good things that he has learnt from him as a child which makes him feel grateful. Nobuko also spends her time working together with her husband, cooking delicious food and enjoying her dance lessons. She is more of the carefree kind and finds happiness in celebrating little moments of love with her partner. Their relationship sets a benchmark of love and marriage, two very delicately intertwined concepts which are not valued as much today. However, the importance of having such a loving and reassuring bond has been beautifully portrayed through the leads of this narrative.
The beauty and power of nature has been emphasized by highlighting the Sakurajima volcano which has been compared to a guardian that gives its inhabitants the energy to grow each day into something better. Throughout the story, its characters have been seen very close to nature, valuing its spiritual essence and life-giving qualities. It also highlights some of the cultural practices of Japanese culture and way of life. The theme of living life to the fullest has been explicitly portrayed through simple yet satisfying images of everyday life in an ordinary household.
The entire cast, especially the leads of this film have done an outstanding job by keeping the story so realistic and simplistically beautiful through their performances which has helped in creating a deep connect with the viewers. The background score is especially praiseworthy for setting the appropriate mood throughout the picture while highlighting just the correct emotions from the characters. The director has narrated the story in the best possible way giving out only positive vibes to his audience.
The director Hiroshi Toda is himself seventy years old yet young at heart because he wishes to continue making films till the time he dies. He has made almost thirty-three films by now which have been selected at several film festivals. His message to the audience of this film is to watch with an open mind and just feel yourself while you’re watching this feature. According to his philosophy, what every individual feels within is the ultimate of life.
This Japanese film has definitely won many hearts, inspiring the youth to have meaningful lives and teaching them to live in the moment. This story has the ability to make its viewers reflect upon themselves and their actions and delve into a spiritual world, free from all the immediate dealings in life, resting close to nature, with your body relaxed and your soul calmed by the soft serene music playing in the background. Kudos to the entire team for crafting this unmissable piece of work.
Samiksha Periwal is an 20 year old student from Kolkata, West Bengal. She is an enthusiast, eager to learn and explore. She has done her schooling from Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, Kolkata and is currently a student of Christ University, Bangalore pursuing a triple major in BA Psychology, Sociology and English. She is a passionate writer and has won many laurels for her school through the years.