Having already lost her mother, high schooler Sora (Wan Marui) is hit especially hard by the passing of her grandfather. Frustrated and lonely in the countryside with her distant father (Taichi Yamada), she is fascinated with the old man’s WWII diary featuring vivid sketches and stories of the horrors of war, as well as suggestions of treasure buried in the local forest. The appearance of a mysterious mute man perpetually walking backwards (Hidemasa Mase) brings simmering tensions to a boil. Kontora offers a haunting tale of how one era can speak to another as well as the pain of being lost in memories; an exceptionally accomplished second feature shot in just 10 days by Anshul Chauhan, featuring rich black-and-white cinematography by Max Golomidov and an evocative score by Yuma Koda.
“Kontora is never less than absorbing.” —The Hollywood Reporter
Available streaming territory: U.S. only
in Japanese with English subtitles