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Directed by Daihachi Yoshida

Japan 2012 103 mins. In Japanese

Like Hitchcock’s Rebecca, the titular character in Yoshida’s film is never seen onscreen, but his shadow looms large. Kirishima is the leader of the “in” crowd at his high school, star player on the volleyball team, but when he suddenly quits the team and doesn’t show up for class, the resulting chaos reveals a delicate web of social politics. The “cool” kids, including Kirishima’s best friend Hiroki and girlfriend Risa, struggle to define themselves without him, while the “nerds” exploit the confusion to make their own voices heard, as in the case of film club geek Maeda who begins filming his dream zombie movie, “Student Council of the Living Dead.” More than a high school comedy, Yoshida’s superb ensemble piece explores the pressures of conformity in Japanese society and won the Best Director and Best Film Awards at the 2013 Japanese Academy Awards.

Genres: Drama