Family comes first in our #7 slot, SURVIVAL FAMILY, for the Top 10 Films of 2017
Family comes first before others even though we encounter difficulties in everyday life. Too much reliance towards technology affects how we communicate with our families and daily habits at homes. The Survival Family, directed by Yaguchi Shinobu, explores the families’ experiences in various scenarios after conveniences are taken away from them.
The film follows the businessman Yoshiyuki (Fumiyo Kohinata) and his family enjoy their personal daily life. Their daughter Yue (Wakana Aoi) has a nasty personality who is always on the phone while their son Kenji (Yuki Izumisawa) prefers to eat takeaway food and listens to loud music through his headphone. The mother Mitsue (Eri Fukatsu) longs for her father who lives at a fishing village in Kagoshima but she is not skilful in preparing meals such as filleting freshly caught fishes. All of them hardly talk to each other especially when they have meals together.
One day, an unexpected blackout happened – causing people fighting for food and water, buying bicycles as their only use of transportation, no technology and communication for people’s convenience – which made the people decided to leave Tokyo and search for vital resources at the towns and coutrysides of Japan.
The Suzuki family encounters various situations while on a road trip to nearby towns, countryside, and the grandfather’s fishing village as their final destination. Most of them are unexpected but funny events that will make your laugh till you cry and your stomach hurts. This is a good thing as laughter is the best medicine to laugh and learn about how the family survive to the fullest (especially the craziest things that they have to do). They have to use basic survival skills to adapt themselves in different environments and make choices to survive. Eating cat food, bartering goods as source of money, and catching a huge pig in the middle of the countryside are some of the moments that make their road trip special.
The funny and meaningful encounters made the Suzuki family learn to be grateful for what we have in the surrounding environment without convenience. It makes them learn to understand each other and spend great quality time together as a family. One of the memorable scenes that support the characters’ growth is where the Suzuki family helps a farmer to capture, kill, and gut one of the pigs followed by smoking the meat throughout many weeks.
The cinematography is done amazingly well in making various scenes more realistic of the final days in Tokyo. The people walking and cycling along the abandoned motorways, sealife creatures are killed and eaten, and filthy rubbish scattered across Japan make us feel scared and worried of what would happen if we are in their shoes.
The Survival Family definitely deserves to be in the Top 10 because of its captivating storyline, great character development and chemistry, and amazing camera work. The film shows a fun, memorable and self-reflection family road trip in a realistic setting. The charming Suzuki family taught us how to survive and value things that are close to our hearts without having too much convenience and technology with us.