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Worthy but flawed

Ainu Mosir

Ainu Moshiri
2020 / 84m - Japan
Ainu Mosir poster

Part coming of age drama, part introduction to the indigenous Ainu culture. While that sounded like an intriguing premise, the film fails to find a clear focus and can't quite decide what it wants to be. I think it would've worked better as either a pure narrative or a full-on documentary.

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Kanto is a young boy growing up in an Ainu village. He is taught about their customs and myths, but he's also drawn to the world outside their little commune. When the elders decide to revive an old Ainu ritual (which involves killing a young bear cub Kanto helped raise), he struggles with his origins.

Performances are decent, the setting is beautiful and the Ainu culture is intriguing, but the coming of age elements feel a bit fleeting and they're never properly explored. The pacing is quite slow, coupled with rather short runtime the film came off underdeveloped, even somewhat unfinished. It's a shame, as this topic deserved better.