A Silent Voice ★★★★★

Quote from Naoko Yamada on A Silent Voice:

“When you’re unable to think of yourself positively, that also gets in the way of you understanding what others feel. We all have worries and many things that we feel guilt over, so we might lose the courage to love ourselves. Since I also have that melancholic part of myself, I wanted to make a film that ultimately said 'it’ll be okay.' "

As I've been moving through Naoko Yamada's filmography I realized that this was her first directed work with a male protagonist. Where some female directors in her position (especially in the anime industry) would approach it like "a guy wouldn't do that," Yamada sees gender as something trivial, and instead she seeks for an understanding of who her characters really are. She is a method director after all, and she prefers to get inside the mind of her characters and tell the story from that perspective. Yamada herself has described the two different types of directors: first, the cameraman who wants to tell their story by putting their image on screen, and the actor who lives with and inside the characters. It shouldn't take that much brainpower to figure out which of the two types of filmmakers I gravitate towards. Yasujirō Ozu, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Naomi Kawase, Isao Takahata, these are the filmmakers I think of as the actor type, and they're all either one of my favourites or close to being one. Naoko Yamada is only 36 and the closer I get to finishing her filmography (give or take a rewatch of K-On! and Sound! Euphonium), the more I see her as one of my favourites as well. It's always nice when you discover more about the person behind your favourite film, and that knowledge leads you not just to a greater love and appreciation of the work, but even a better understanding of why it works for you. Maybe I'll write a proper review for this after I'm finished Tamako Market, who knows.

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