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Review of Movie Michiko, Making & Interview Directed by Ryo Kagawa

Often, few films made with a lot of love and dedication can exceed the initial expectations of the audience. Michiko is one such film where director Ryo Kagawa has poured out his heart and created a beautiful canvas showcasing the struggles of a schizophrenic patient. The movie delves deep into the issue of mental disabilities and how it impacts the lives of people and their families. Michiko has won over 100 awards, including Cosmo Film Festival, Critics Choice Award in Tagore International Film Festival, Finalist in Sweden Film Awards and others.

The story of Michiko revolves around its titular character who is suffering from mental sickness for a long time. Throughout the film, we see her agitation, suffering and gradual descent to a point of no return. Director Ryo Kagawa has made a film that gives hope and courage to people with disabilities and those who are socially vulnerable. The documentary footage featuring behind-the-scenes videos and interviews of the actors gives us a peek into the minds of the actors and the director and helps us to understand Michiko better. The actors narrate their experiences of working in a film with such a serious theme and how they prepared for their roles, especially Narumi Yonezawa who plays the protagonist, Michiko. She describes how she recalled her own memories of seeing a relative in a psychiatric facility to do justice to the role of Michiko.

Director Ryo Kagawa has made this film based on his own experience of schizophrenia and spending a long time in a mental health facility. Hence, all the hospital scenes in which Michiko is agitated and fails to express her suffering are portrayed very authentically. In a particular section of the documentary, we see Kagawa guide Narumi Yonezawa about how to accurately show her uncontrollable agitation on the screen. He gives her a detailed tutorial on how to heighten the aggression on-screen and aptly show her overpowering emotions. Here, Kagawa uses his own experience to guide an acting performance, thereby making it look realistic.

The documentary is a very informative and insightful look at the hard work that went into making this short, impactful film. Ryo Kagawa took his own hardships and trauma in life and created a film with a powerful message. Michiko is aptly praised all over the world in various film festivals, and we hope it continues to spread its message in future.

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