As a movie watcher, I’ve no say at which films are booked into my local cineplex and no say in when they play. I’m just the consumer, and the business of movies has nothing to do with me. Except for the buying of the tickets. The result of what I am able to see is also a function of where I live. Some areas are deemed important or prime to the movie distributors, and other areas less so. When I lived in Manhattan, nearly everything I wished to see could be found. Even films that opened in a selective limited release would be screened in New York. This is not the case in Sarasota, Florida. But in today’s world of modern technology, if I can’t see a film in a film theater, eventually I will be able to see it at home via either a film delivery service like Netflix, or I could see it via the On-Demand service provided by my cable company.
All of the above is neither here nor there but is just a part of the root cause of how I happened to watch two films two days ago. The other factors were that baseball has just concluded the 2012 season, football games are rarely scheduled on Tuesday, The NHL is in the midst of a lockout, and the NBA has just started its season. The fact that these two films that can safely be placed under the umbrella category of ‘family dramas’ isn’t that meaningful either, in the context of why I watched them.
What is important is how different these two films are.
On its surface, I Wish (Kiseki) is a film about two brothers, separated by the failed marriage of their parents. One boy, the older brother, lives in Kagoshima, a southern coastal city on the Japanese island Kyushu with his mother and her parents. The younger boy lives in Fukuoka, a city on the north end of the same island, with his Dad.
Both of the boys wish that they could be reunited and once again live as a family. So as we watch, we hope that the brothers wishes come true. We want the family to be unified.
In Carnage, directed by Roman Polanski, the story begins with a playground squabble between two 11-year-old boys. We don’t know what they’re arguing about as the camera is set up at a distance and slightly above this Brooklyn, NY, schoolyard playground. What happens is that argument escalates into pushing and shoving until one boy strikes the other boy with a stick. The result is muted because of our distance from the action, but we will come to learn that the boy who took the blow, lost at least one tooth, and he might lose a second.. The aftermath of the playground scrap is the meeting of the four parents, sans children, which forms the meat and potatoes of the film.