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Sad Vacation

Written & Directed by Shinji Aoyama
  • 64th Venice Film Festival 2007
  • 32nd Toronto International Film Festival 2007 – Official selection –
  • 12th Pusan International Film Festival 2007 – Official selection –

An original story written and directed by an world acclaimed director Shinji Aoyama.  HELPLESS(’96), EUREKA(’00) and now this new story of “rebirth” raises its curtain.


Is blood that powerful? What exactly denies a mother?

“Kenji” scrapes out a meager existence doing odd jobs and serving as a designated driver for inebriated bar hostesses and their customers. He’s grown up nursing the emotional wounds of being abandoned by his mother at a young age and then losing his father to suicide. Though bitter, Kenji has enough compassion to care for the sister of an old friend in jail and a young illegal immigrant who barely escaped being sold into slavery. But his life takes on new meaning one night when he drives home Mamiya, the owner of an express package delivery service, and recognizes the man’s wife, Chiyoko, as his own long lost mother! Mamiya, who runs his business as a veritable “halfway house” for people who can’t ordinarily find employment due to a criminal or checkered past, instantly takes to Kenji and increasingly solicits his help in running the company. This provedes Kenji with an opportunity to hatch and carry out a plan that he thinks will bring the closure he’s been yearning for in his personal life, namely, settling the score with his biological mother. Despite the fact that Mamiya and Chiyoko have a teenage son between them, Mamiya’s righteous nature only further fuels his trust of Kenji when the truth is revealed. Underneath feelings of alarm, discomfort and resentment between Kenji, Chiyoko and Kneji’s half brother, Yusuke, lie non-severable blood ties that seem to wield inordinate control voer everyone’s destinies. Is blood that powerful? What exactly defines a mother? or a parent, for that matter? While Kenji struggles with these questions and attempts to escape his fate, Chiyoko seems content to let it serve as the final arbiter. Where will it ultimately lead them?

Director's Profile : Shinji Aoyama

Born July 13, 1964 in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan, Shinji Aoyama majored in English and American Literature in college at Rikkyo University where he created a huge body of 8mm film works as part of the Motion Picture Club. His first screenplay came with the theatrical released, feature film, “Helpless” in 1996 which was shown at the Toronto, Vienna and Turin International Film Festivals. His 2000 film “Eureka” was an invited to take part in the competition category of the 53rd Cannes International Film Festival where it garnered the prestigious International Critics Award and the Ecumenic Award. Aoyama’s international accolades also include the Age d’Or Prize from the Royal Belgian Film Archive.


Written and Directed by Shinji Aoyama
Producer: Naoki Kai
Tadanobu Asano, Eri Ishida, Aoi Miyazaki, Yuka Itaya, Katsuo Nakamura, Joe Odagiri
© 2007 Sad Vacation Film Partners

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