Umi wo Kanjiru Toki

While the story may seem overused by today’s standards, its history is fascinating.

The novel this flick is based on (of the same name, which literally translates as When I Sense the Sea) was released in 1978 and depicted in detail the steamy affair between a teenage schoolgirl and a senior at the same school. It was highly lauded and won the Gunzo Newcomer’s Award while at the same time scandalizing Japan. The kicker was that the female author, Kei Nakazawa, was only 18 when the book was published.

One day, rebellious Emiko (Yui Ichikawa) is cutting class in the school paper room when she runs into Hiroshi (Sosuke Ikematsu). He immediately hits on her and they enter into a hot and heavy affair that consumes her life. She falls heavily in love with Hiroshi but he declares it’s only about sex. Though they break up and get back together, Emiko follows Hiroshi around, basing her life around him—even taking up work at a flower shop just to be near his university. In all, this is a well-acted depiction of both naive love and clueless obsession. (118 min)