The Garden Apartment

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The Garden Apartment

Directed by Umi Ishihara

  • Japan 2018; 77 min
  • Original version: Japanese
  • Genre: Drama


The effortlessly cool debut feature by artist and film director Ishihara Umi, also known as UMMMI, captures the feeling of perpetual limbo that is the experience of shifting between youth and adulthood. Hikari is a mother-to-be who is becoming frustrated by her boyfriend Taro’s inability to take on responsibility. Taro’s eccentric ‘aunt’ Kyoko invites her to a party at her house, which has become a hub for young drifters who together comfort their surrogate mother who is struggling to recover from her husband’s untimely death. Hikari finds herself the only adult in the room and attracts the interest of Kyoko’s young boyfriend.
Shinomiya Yukari, in her role as Hikari, performs teen angst with such comfortable numbness she even makes uncertainty come across with clarity. Ishihara soaks the frame with melancholia as her characters drive into the night with no destination in sight.