Director: Eiji Uchida

Writer: Eiji Uchida

Cast: Antony, Hanae Kan, Kaito Yoshimura, Kenta Suga, Sairi Ito

Producer: Adam Torel

Format: DVD & BluRay

Audio: Japanese

Subtitles: English

Running Time: 95 mins (1 hr 35 mins)

Rating: 18 BBFC

Licensed By: Third Window Films

Release Date: 26th March 2018

 

A young girl named Ai, is born into a small Japanese town, to a mother who is always a member of the next ‘big’ religious cult. After one too many incidents of looking for affection from her mother, Ai is sent to a cult commune. She spends seven years there happily, knowing affection and love. When the cult becomes disbanded after a police raid, Ai returns to her distant mother. Ai leaves school soon after, failing to adjust to normal society. She becomes a runaway, looking for a place where she could belong. Falling in with the wrong crowd, living with gangsters and call girls, her troubled times continue. Only one person is able to connect with her, and they cross paths throughout the years, each wishing to leave this small town behind and start a normal life. This is a tale of lost youths trying to find a place to belong and a happy life.

There is quite a lot going on in the lives of these forgotten youths, an interesting selection of teenagers who have either run away from home, have no place to go or who cannot find a safe life. Ai is one such youth, who after finding no love from her mother, tested her patience too far and was taken away to a religious commune. Ai found the one place where she belonged, loved by all at the cult. She is ripped away from her one true home after seven years and left to once again adjust back into society and life with her estranged mother. When it becomes too much, Ai sets out to find her own place in the world, but it’s cruel out there.

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Ai experiences many hardships along the way, with a loveless home and with no qualifications, she has no job. After a depressingly short amount of time, Ai rebels against society, lives amongst thugs and call girls, and uses her body in order to keep a roof over her head. There is however, one boy who always looks out for her: Ryota. He is another misguided youth who wants to join a gang, one that ends up being directly connected with the Yakuza. Ryota and Ai cross paths every now and again, with Ryota wanting to save both of them and leave this God-forsaken town.

The duo become entangled with thugs, gang wars, the Yakuza and a blonde-haired wannabe gangster named Yuji. This troubled teen is a maniac in the making, wanting his friend Kenta to always stay by him as they inevitably wait to join the Yakuza. As time goes by, Kenta hopes to leave the crime world behind, much to the disappointment of Yuji. Both Kenta and Yuji’s lives intertwine with both Ai and Ryota, as they are all part of the same gang. All the characters either want to move up in the world of crime or leave it, and this town altogether. Ai is the only one whose life is continuously changing, as she changes both her appearance and personality numerous times in order to find a family and home. From cultist, to low life, call girl to porn star, Ai is always trying to find a way out of this hopeless town.

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Bonus Features Include:

ALL REGION (will play on all Blu-ray and DVD players)
Dual Format Both DVD and Blu-Ray included
30 minutes of deleted scenes including alternate endings
Interview with lead actor Kenta Suga
Music Video
Trailer

After watching the deleted scenes and alternate ending to this low budget film, I think it’s such a shame that those particular scenes involving (spoilers!) the child were cut out. They added a whole other depth to the film and Ai’s character.

This is in fact the second production that Third Window Films Adam Torel has produced, following on from last year’s Lowlife Love, which was a low budget film production that still boasts an impressive cast and incredible acting performances. The script is loosely based on real life events, with Eiji Uchida (Greatful Dead, Lowlife Love) having both written and directed this feature. The film’s cast includes some “real local delinquents” which created a unique situation in which the shooting took place under the local police supervision. The main cast includes the talented Sairi Ito and Kenta Suga, who both started their careers as child actors and shed their “good kid” personas to play dark characters. Other cast members include the in-demand young actor Kaito Yoshimura (100 Yen Love), Sion Sono regulars Ami Tomite (Antiporno) and Denden (Cold Fish), award-winning actors such as Hanae Kan (Nobody Knows) and Katsuya Maigumua (Ken and Kazu) plus veterans such as Leona Hirota (Whispering of the Gods) and Yoshimasa Kondo (Welcome Back Mr Mcdonald).

This is certainly a film well-worth picking up and a title that is one of the most interesting coming of age films to have come out in recent years. I do advise watching the deleted and alternate ending scenes directly after watching this feature. Leave your comments below if you think they should or shouldn’t have been included in the final edit of the film.

Love and Other Cults is available to buy this month from Third Window Films.

Overall: 9/10

 

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