Kabei: Our Mother

The latest film from Yoji Yamada depicts the strong bond between a mother and her family during WWII. Set in Tokyo in 1940, the peaceful life of the Nogami Family suddenly changes when the father, Shigeru, is arrested and accused of being a Communist. His wife Kayo works frantically from morning to night to maintain the household and bring up her two daughters with the support of Shigeru’s sister Hisako and Shigeru’s ex-student Yamazaki, but her husband does not return. WWII breaks out and casts dark shadows on the entire country, but Kayo still tries to keep her cheerful determination, and sustains the family with her love. [Synopsis courtesy of Strand Releasing]

Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog

As a Labrador puppy, Quill is sent to live with a couple, Isamu and Mitsuko Nii, who work as volunteers, training guide dogs (seeing eye dogs). When he grows to an adult dog, he is taken to a guide dog school, by a friendly, yet firm trainer Satoru Tawada. Although Quill is a little slower than the other dogs at the school, he seems to have an unusual ’empathy’ and remarkable patience with his trainers. Tawada decides that Quill would be the ideal guide dog for Mitsuru Watanabe, but Wanatabe, a lonely and ill-tempered middle aged man, isn’t as enthusiastic – he would “would rather sleep than be dragged around by a dog.”. From here, the story is narrated by Wanatabe’s daughter, Mitsuko, and slowly, Wantanbe is rehabilitated, venturing into the outside world, and learning, not only to trust other humans, but the animal at his side who guides him.