OSAKA ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL 2023 Closes with Chihiro Ito’s magical realist drama "Side by Side"

18th edition of the Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF 2023) will close with "Side by Side" (サイドバイ サイド 隣にいる人, Side by Side: Tonari ni iru hito), the second feature film from veteran screenwriter Chihiro ItoAfter a career of writing hit films like “Crying Out Love in the Center of the World” in 2004 , ITO Chihiro makes her second film as director, “Side by Side,” a drama with a magical realist twist that follows a young man who can sense the thoughts of other people. 

Produced by award-winning director  Isao Yukisada, it features leading star Kentaro Sakaguchi, together with an excellent cast that includes Asuka Saito, Kodai Asaka,  Ameri Isomura, and Mikako Ichikawa.


Miyama (Kentaro Sakaguchi) is a mysterious young man with the ability to sense the thoughts of other people. These thoughts sometimes take the form of a spirit that haunts Miyama. With this power, he can detect and heal people suffering from physical ailments and emotional traumas. He does this while living a quiet life with his girlfriend Shiori (Mikako Ichikawa), a nurse, and her daughter Mimi (Ameri Isomura). While locals accept him, the mystery of his background lingers and it all comes out when he confronts the thoughts of Kusaka (Kodai Asaka), who was his junior in high school, now working as a musician in Tokyo. Miyama’s meeting with Kusaka reunites him with his ex-girlfriend Riko (Asuka Saito), a woman who is part of the past that he ran away from.


Chihiro Ito began her film career as art department staff in charge of props before she met Isao Yukisada who invited her to write a screenplay for his film “Seventh Anniversary” (セブンス アニバーサリー, 2003). Immediately after her writing debut, she worked on screenplays for a string of live-action films and anime, including mega-hit “Crying Out Love in the Center of the World” (世界の中心で、愛をさけぶ, 2004) and Mamoru Oshii’s “The Sky Crawlers” (スカイ・クロラ, 2008). Recently, she has worked under the pen name Anne Horizumi (堀泉杏) on Isao Yukisada’s films “Narratage” (ナラタージュ, 2017) and “The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” (窮鼠はチーズの夢を⾒る, 2020). 

In 2022, she debuted as a director with “In Her Room”(ひとりぼっちじゃない). It was produced by Isao Yukisada and played in the Nippon Cinema Now section at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2022. On top of writing screenplays, she has also written for the stage and also a picture book. “Side by Side” is her second film and was shot in the beautiful landscape of Nagano Prefecture. 

The main character, Miyama, is played by  Kentaro Sakaguchi, a talented young actor who has risen to leading man status through parts in "Our Little Sister" (海街 diary), “Narratage,” “The Last 10 Years” (余命 10 年) and “Hell Dogs” (ヘルドッグス), as well as the NHK TV series "Okaeri Mone" (おかえりモネ). He brings to life the mysterious character of Miyama with his overwhelming sense of transparency and a backstory that unravels when he comes into contact with people from his past. 

Miyamaʻs ex-lover, Riko, is played by  Asuka Saito, who made her screen debut as the heroine in the Japanese remake of the Taiwanese film "You Are the Apple of My Eye” (あの頃、君を追いかけた), and more recently appeared in the live-action adaptation of “Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!” (映像研には手を出すな︕). This is her first film since announcing her graduation from the idol group Nogizaka46, and she brings a new level of charm to the role. They are given top support from  Kodai Asaka, who has appeared in “Theater” (劇場), and Mikako Ichikawa, a veteran actor who has appeared in “Rent-a-cat” (レンタネコ), “Shin Godzilla” (シン・ゴジラ) and “A Girl Missing” (よこがお). 

“Side by Side” has its World Premiere screening at OAFF on Sunday, March 19 before it opens theatrically in Japan on April 14th 2023.

2023 / Japan / 130min 

Director, Screenplay, Original Idea:  Chihiro Ito (伊藤ちひろ) / Producer:  Isao Yukisada (⾏定勲) 

Starring︓ Kentaro Sakaguchi (坂⼝健太郎),  Asuka Saito (齋藤飛鳥), Kodai Asaka (浅香航大), Ameri Isomura (磯村アメリ), Mikako Ichikawa (市川実日子) 

Distributor in Japan/ World Sales: Happinet Phantom Studios


© 2023 "Side by Side" Film Partners

No comments

Post a Comment

©2024 inStyle Asia All Rights Reserved.
Designed by Creatopia Space