Last Summer (first feature)

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Last Summer

Last Summer

Last Summer

original title:

Last Summer


Rinko Kikuchi, Yorick van Wageningen, Ken Brady, Lucy Griffiths, Laura Sofia Bach, Daniel Ball


Leonardo Guerra Seràgnoli, Igort, Banana Yoshimoto



set design:

costume design:


Asaf Sagiv


Jean Vigo Italia, Cinemaundici, Essentia, Rai Cinema, supported by Ministero della Cultura, in association with BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas, with the support of Apulia Film Commission






film run:




release date:


festivals & awards:

A sailing boat is at anchor in a bay off of a Apulian island. Naomi, a young Japanese woman, after having lost custody of her six year-old son, Ken, will be spending her last four days with him on board the boat of her father-in-law. In a hostile environment, Naomi faces the difficulty of approaching Ken under the controlling glare of the crew. Alex notices Naomi’s attempts to connect with Ken and eases his control, entering into conflict with the rest of the crew. When Naomi’s hopes seem lost Ken starts to take an interest in her, thus reducing the distance between them. The crew, in conflict with the captain, informs the boat’s owner. Alex, disobeying his employer’s wishes, takes Naomi and Ken to a beach where they can be alone and bond for the first time. Back on the boat, a timeless day magnifies the weight of their last goodbye and when Ken falls asleep, Naomi must leave. Watching the boat sail away, Naomi sees Ken for one last time wearing the mask she has made for him as a parting gift – the Japanese god of the sea.

Fourteen years ago, a woman sat on the couch in my parents’ living room and burst into tears. She’d come to dinner with some friends of my mother’s, a total stranger who sobbed outright in front of people who were strangers to her. I stayed and watched her from one end of the room: she said her husband was taking her children away. This memory, blocked out for years, reemerged and turned into the story of Last Summer. I wanted to probe the possibility of a relationship starting as it ended, and the extreme difficulty of attempting to reconnect. The power struggle, the imbalance in social dynamics that makes preserving one’s identity so hard. An inaccessible microcosm marked by isolation and coercion, and permeated with feelings of disorientation and defeat. Then a cathartic reconciliation between past and present that allows the two to learn to speak with their own voices, and be mother and son again, for the first and last time. A journey during which, when the obstacles melt away, the mind can let in primary emotions, and when they last, there’s hope for changing the course of the future.