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The mysterious forest: What is the metaphorical drama “Evil Does Not Exist” about?

On April 25, Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s film “Evil Does Not Exist” will be released in domestic cinemas. The film was premiered at the Venice Film Festival and received the special jury award.

This is the story of Takumi, a widowed mechanic who lives in a forest preserve with his eight-year-old daughter Hannah. When representatives of a construction company arrive in a Japanese village to contact the locals for the construction of a tourist complex, little Hannah suddenly disappears.

We tell you why the film will not leave anyone indifferent.


Meditative storytelling

A frame from the movie “No Evil”

It may not be obvious, but the main character is the mysterious forest, which seems to have a spirit that provides shelter to the local residents. They live not only in harmony with nature, but also in a special, respectful and even sacred bond.

Takumi (debut Hitoshi Omika) and his friend Kazuo go to collect clean spring water every day. They’re comfortable staying quiet together, enjoying the sounds of the forest, but their peace is suddenly shattered by hunting shootings. And we understand that very soon this quiet corner will change. Meanwhile, Takumi and his daughter Hannah (Ryo Nishikawa) wander the deer trail, explaining how to distinguish pine from larch. But even the breath of death invades the children’s world in the form of the remains of a killed deer.


A frame from the movie “No Evil”

The idea for the film came about while Ryusuke Hamaguchi was creating a video for Japanese multi-instrumentalist and composer Eiko Ishibashi. The director had previously worked with him on the TV series “Take the Steering Wheel of My Car”. This time, under the influence of his work, Ryusuke Hamaguchi created a magnificent forest visual symphony that makes you believe that nature is equipped with intelligence. A lot of things remain behind the scenes in the film, including the story of the main character who remains silent all the time. You can only guess what is in everyone’s soul with the help of music that puts you in a lonely and melancholy mood or a calm mood, which is replaced by anxiety and premonition of invisible evil.


Surrender to fate and resistance to the elements

A frame from the movie “No Evil”

The desire to take over territory is inherent in man’s predatory nature. And this is clearly seen at a meeting between Japanese village residents and representatives of a construction company. The owner who bought the land is considering building a glamping area here. He does not care how his greed and passion for profit will affect the picturesque region and its inhabitants.

A lot of money has already been spent on the project, but it turns out that the layout itself is missing an important detail – the septic tank is located in a place where wastewater flows directly into the source. And this water is drunk not only by local residents, but also by residents of several neighboring villages located at the foot of the mountain. Additionally, there is a high risk of fire due to vegetation. And deer migration will suffer.

The arguments seem to have convinced Takahashi (Ryuji Kosaka) and Mayuzumi (Ayaka Shibutani), who were sent by their superiors to present the project. But despite the reasonableness of the arguments, they understand that the new project will very negatively affect the budget, so the only thing they can do is hide behind standard phrases and get confused in questions. We also understand that they are merely executors of someone else’s will. Evil has no face; The businessman himself remains behind the scenes.

At the same time, local people are not against glamping and tourists because they are immigrants themselves. A young girl tells how she swapped city life for happiness in the wild, thanks only to the quality of the spring water. But the authorities do not care about such sentimentality. The people themselves are angry with the infrastructure construction approach that will turn a clean settlement into a toilet. Realizing the extent of the threat, Takahashi and Mayuzumi convince Takumi to become their advisors on the project to introduce the features of the wilderness.


Mysticism and symbolism in the spirit of Miyazaki

A frame from the movie “No Evil”

Takumi is a man of few words, but he makes it clear that the forest has a spirit and that anyone who sets foot there with good intentions will be rewarded, while those who carry evil within will experience the revenge of the elements.

And although there are almost no words about it, we understand that the main character never heals the wound of loneliness. After all, the forest was where Takumi took refuge after losing his wife. And now he may lose his daughter. The hero wanders among the trees where the fog thickens. Another dimension seems to have entered the musical sounds of composer Eiko Ishibashi. However, we will not reveal all the major milestones of the film, but we will recommend that you watch the film for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

Source: People Talk

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