‘Komorebi’ connects us to natural world in two recent Japanese movies


We noticed it right away. Evil Does Not Exist, the new film by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, director of Academy Award-winning DRIVE MY CAR opens with a long montage of treetops in a forest.

Hey! We just saw something very similar in Wim Wenders’ Academy Award-nominated movie, Perfect Days (2023). This marvelous film, an artsmeme favorite, also had extensive footage of lead character, Hirayama (Kōji Yakusho), as he takes komorebi pictures with his (old-school) Olympus film camera. On lunch hours, between chomps on a sandwich, he stares upward and snaps still photos of the minuscule movement of wind and light playing on the treetops.

Who knew, but this beautiful linkage between man and nature is actually a Japanese tradition, and it has a name. Called “komorebi,” it describes the dancing shadow patterns created by sunlight shining through rustling leaves and swaying branches.

Evil Does Not Exist, a rather hyperbolic title for a gently affecting movie, is also good. Both films, unsurprisingly, carry environmental messages. Our Perfect Days review here, or click image below.

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