In Japan, many young people shut themselves up at home, out of frustration with school or work. Experts say that about a million Japanese are afflicted by this social withdrawal known as hikikomori. For HOME, a 25-year-old film student with a hikikomori-brother filmed his family. It is therefore a valuable document on the realities of hikikomori by those directly involved. It also shows what film is capable of. In the way the disintegrated family is revived by the filming and being filmed, we see the miraculous power of images.The elder brother has lead a hikikomori life for seven years. Tired of the tension at home, the father and the brother moved out, and the mother was left to cope on her own, getting increasingly depressed. Her call for help brings the brother/director back home after five years absence. Armed with a camera, he tries to build up a genuine dialogue with the family. It is a thrilling process to see how the presence of the camera opens an air hole for the deadlocked family.In his room, where books and videos are neatly lined up and information ceaslessly flows in from the TV, the brother explains his situation as hikikomori. 'Although my feet touch the floor, I can't walk since it feels as if I'm floating three centimeters above ground.' I suppose people of today surrounded by virtual reality will be able to relate to this uncertain sensation. (Fukatsu Junko is staff writer for the Asahi Shinbun.)

Filmmaker
Kobayashi Takahiro
Premiere
European premiere
Country
Japan
Year
2001
Medium
16mm
Length
59’
Language
Japanese
Producer
Takaharu Yasuoka, Japan Academy of Moving Images
Sales
Japan Academy of Moving Images
Cinematography
Kobayashi Takahiro
Editor
Kobayashi Takahiro