Village of Dreams
Village of Dreams, a 1996 film by veteran Japanese director Yoichi Higashi, is a flashback story about the post-War country childhood of identical twins, Seizo and Yukiho, who grow up to be gentle, kindly painters. As third-grade boys, they are spirited young rascals, who act up in unison like Japanese versions of that old-time disruptive, anarchic, comics page duo, the Katzenjammer Kids. Their father grumbles about them, upset the most that they waste time drawing pictures. What kind of future? Their mother indulges them. She's their teacher at school, and offends the other pupils by giving prizes to her boys' paintings.
The film is fetchingly shot, a watercolor, picture-book texture to match the story, and there's an oddly fitting score of madrigal-like music performed by the Caterina Ancient Music Ensemble. The twin boys (Keigo and Shogo Matsuyama) are perfect, bug-eyed little monsters in identical shorts and white undershirts. But there's little insight as to what makes these rowdy boys into future serious-minded artists, or why, as children, they so love to draw. Too many episodes in the film are random and directionless; the film drags on and on.
It should be noted that Village of Dreams has its admirers. The film won the Silver Bear, second prize, at the Berlin Film Festival.