Tomodachi Touches the Hearts of Kyoto Audience
Day 2 saw the screening of the touching Japan-Philippines coproduction Tomodachi in the morning at Aeon Cinema Kyoto Katsuragawa. This powerful work is based on a true story about a Japanese man, Toshiro, living in the Philippines just prior to WWII. He and Rosalinda, a lovely Filipina, fall in love but historical events keep them apart, turning their love to tragedy.
Versatile actor/director/producer Jackie Wu portrayed the good-hearted Toshiro while up-and-coming Filipina actress Bela Padilla played the part of Rosalinda.
The work is hot item on the film festival circuit. After its Japan premiere at KIFF it will screen at the Berlin Art Film Festival and the Milano Film Festival in Italy.
Told in flashback fashion when Toshiro visits the Philippines many years later, we see the development of Toshiro’s strong bonds with the local community and his relationship build with Rosalinda. When the war tears them apart and then returns Toshiro to the country in the role of soldier the scenario is wrought with tension.
Both a love story and a tragedy caused by historical forces, the film keeps a grip on the viewer. The local townspeople, who showed Toshiro so much affection at the start, are shocked by his new role as a soldier, but still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. But tension is stoked within Rosalinda’s family, putting more pressure on the young couple.
The film touches on cross-cultural themes and historical situations but Wu explained, “For me the most important thing about this story is that it is based on pure love between the two people. I really wanted to depict this pure love.”
Padilla commented, ‘It wasn’t conventional for Rosalinda to be in love with a Japanese soldier so you she had to be strong, stick by her decision. I guess in that era things were simpler…so if you liked someone back then there was a 100% chance you were going to end up with them. So I think that is where the characters were coming from.”