This sharply observed dissection of a volatile relationship between two college students may have some viewers gasping for air, but there’s no denying that playwright Takuya Kato’s film debut lives up to the ambitions of its rigorous formalism. Told in a chronologically fractured, vérité-driven style, with amazingly assured direction and performances of relentless intimacy, it addresses the issues confronting many of today’s young adults, who must make life-changing decisions. Emerging stars Mai Kiryu and Kisetsu Fujiwara bring authenticity and empathy to their roles as Yumi and Naoya, who undergo rites of passage that disrupt their burgeoning careers, and their ability to communicate, and their fundamental self-identities.

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