Directed by Ryo Kagawa | Reviewed by Samiksha Periwal
Michiko A3 is a warm and heartfelt love story of Ryo Sukagawa and Michiko. It is an inspirational tale of a woman who struggles to lead a peaceful and happy life because of her mental illness. Her dedication and passion towards working for young children is indeed what keeps her alive, but unfortunately not for too long. Her death is life-changing for her beloved husband, Ryo Sukagawa who leaves everything behind and follows her dream to express his love and gratitude towards her. This emotional tale has several layers to it and as you unfold each layer, you feel a deep connection with this kind-hearted woman, who encourages you to reach out to the needy and become a more wholesome individual.
This film majorly covers Michiko’s life describing each and every aspect of her personality. She was very fond of children and as a student she went on an educational trip to India. This was the turning point in her life; she met Mr. Khan, who looked after children from low-income families. She acquired a strong desire to help these kids and see their smiles. However, due to her sickness, she was unable to travel or work as much as she would have liked. Ryo Sukagawa, on the other hand, held a prominent position in a prestigious Japanese corporation and lived a lavish and comfortable lifestyle. Michiko’s serious personality led to her acquiring schizophrenia over time, causing her to spend days upon days in the hospital. When Ryo sees Michiko’s frail and fragile condition, he feels terrible and helpless for dismissing her previous complaints. When Michiko loses all hope and commits suicide, Ryo vows to move to India and realize Michiko’s dreams for their love and those innocent children.
The director has touched upon several relevant through this film. The first being the central theme of mental illness which completely drains a person both physically and emotionally, the other being the concept of love and the idea of equality in a relationship which is seen missing in Michiko and Ryo’s relationship and lastly the attribute of spreading love and happiness. Humanity and kindness have become more rare qualities, which is strange given that practically every educational institution nowadays ensures that life skills are incorporated into their curriculum. However, it remains restricted to that; in actuality, mental health is stigmatized, and people are always preoccupied with their own occupations, with little regard for the wellbeing of society.
Michiko is played by Narumi Yonezawa, while Ryo is played by Syun Matsuoka. They’ve both done an excellent job at portraying the feelings of these two characters and infusing emotion into every moment. The order in which the scenes were shot and the locales in which they were shot all fit the atmosphere perfectly. The cinematography and editing also give the audience the visual delight they’re looking for.
Ryo Kagawa, the director, has basically poured his entire life narrative into this stunning picture. Being a mental patient himself, he saw talking about mental health as a critical problem. He believes that by presenting his personal experience in cinema he can prove to the world that even patients with mental illnesses can have a social life and work to be a better individual. He is supporting preschoolers in Rajasthan, India with the help of a few other Indian friends. He is an inspiration for all other individuals dealing with their own health issues, be it mental or physical. Facing the challenges and overcoming them to be a more powerful and confident individual is what Ryo has successfully done and encouraged others to do the same.
Michiko A3 is an emotional roller coaster that takes you through all kinds of highs and lows but eventually leaves you with a lot of food for thought and makes you feel enlightened and grateful for everything and everyone in your life. It is definitely a must-watch film and should be added to your to-do list as soon as possible!