Directed by Takayuki Kayano | Reviewed by Samiksha Periwal
‘The Gate’ is a Japanese film that depicts casual travel moments of young teens living together in a hotel in the city of Kumamoto. There have been two parallel accounts presented in the story. The first depicts scenes of three young teenage boys conversing about school and their personal lives in general, while the second is a lighthearted segment depicting the closeness between two sisters. The two primary characters of the film, Chako and Takase, who appear to be best friends, connect the two storylines.
There are multiple sequences occurring one after the other, according to different settings in the film. It has been shot entirely in one hotel, that is, ‘The Gate’. The first scene takes place in a lounge, where we see the three boys catching up on each other’s school lives, getting information on the various clubs they’ve joined, any other activity they’ve found intriguing and so on. It is a happy sequence portraying the reunion of friends after a long time and the casual conversations that they have with one another. The next scene moves to these boys’ bedroom, where they discuss their plans of visiting tourist attractions and wandering around Kumamoto during their trip. Here, Takase’s friend Tomotari, who is enthralled by the history of the Kumamoto castle begs his pals to include this destination in their list and wishes to go there with them. Takase also admits that he is friends with Chako and that staying at that particular hotel was her idea.
The parallel story of Kurumi and Chako begins right after this. Kurumi, Chako’s younger sister, appears perplexed and concerned over not being able to locate Chako early in the morning. She enlists the assistance of the hotel’s receptionist in her search for her sister, only to discover that her carefree and immature elder sister was playing around and having fun hanging from the hotel’s pull-up bar. Chako’s character appears to be a happy-go-lucky kind and is definitely amusing for the viewers. The entire sequence shows the bond of love and innocence between these two sisters who are bang opposite in terms of their personalities, yet have a very special connection with one another. Their bond is sure to bring a smile on the faces of the viewers.
The director and the cast have successfully created a light-hearted, travel-based story for their viewers. Their approach is casual and simple, covering happy moments spent by these young adults. It is a straightforward narrative that tries to lighten your mood and witness unornamented conversations that an individual involves in their day-to-day lives. It is visually pleasing as the different camera angles cover even minute details in every shot keeping the aesthetics in mind. The actors have also sought to keep their facial expressions as generic as possible in order to appear realistic and relatable.
Takayuki Kayano is a filmmaker based in Fukuoka, Japan. He has engaged in various genres in film production after his graduation from Kyushu University, Japan. His latest work includes the original hacker movie titled “The Jellyfish Incident” which was released in the theatres in 2019. This film is one of his creations and he believes that one of the best parts of travelling includes the lodging. Thus, restricting the storyline to a just a hotel and various areas situated inside the same. The offbeat interactions of the actors who gather in the hotel is the primary highlight in this film which the director wants the viewers to enjoy as they watch this film.
Overall, this is a lighthearted film about travel and the experiences, conversations, and activities that people engage in while on vacation. The film will undoubtedly lighten the mood of its audience, and they may even find the sequences to be interesting, humorous and relatable.