Image for Natsuko




Natsuko lives with her husband in the countryside. A few times a year, he goes away to meet his daughter from his ex-wife, leaving her to face her own emotional struggles.

“When you are on [a bicycle] you feel like you can go anywhere.” To Natsuko, who is often left alone at home when her husband is off to meet his daughter from his previous marriage, these words sound like permission to let go. It’s okay to feel unease. It’s okay to let your emotions run wild. And yet, Natsuko has never learned how to ride a bicycle.

In her first short film as a director, actress Shuna Iijima shows impeccable care framing Natsuko’s measured gestures and little quirks, like her toes rhythmically tapping on the wooden floor. Making gentle use of natural light, especially in the scenes sizing up the woman’s modest apartment, Iijima evokes Natsuko’s suffering through snippets of phone conversations and expressive close-ups. The Japanese countryside offers the perfect backdrop for this story of bottled-up feelings. While dark clouds invade the summer sky promising rain to ease the suffocating damp weather, solace can be found on the straight road running alongside ripe fields.

Ren Scateni

Director filmography: First film


  • Director Shuna Iijima
  • Country Japan
  • Year 2020
  • Duration 15 min
  • World Premiere


Bill Douglas Award 3: Your Love

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