Nanayomachi. 2008. Japan. Directed by Naomi Kawase. With Kyoko Hasegawa, Grégoire Colin, Jun Murakami. In Japanese, French, Thai; English subtitles. 95 min.
A frail young woman arrives in Thailand from Japan and takes a long taxi ride to a forest retreat. Fearful of her driver’s intentions, she runs for safety and is comforted by fellow travelers who help her relax, but struggle to communicate as they speak different languages. Each has personal conflicts to surmount, but their individual concerns are shaken up when a young boy named Toi disappears. The film celebrates both the healing and the menacing powers of nature and passion—driving rain turns into a sunny day, eerie unnamed sounds become delightful birdsong, and dreams release painful memories. Japan figures as a far-off imperialist country, and Thailand as poor but compassionate.