films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


Welcome to a new generation of directors. 21st Century Girl is an anthology featuring only young, female directors, tasked to make a film for 21st century girls (hence the name of the project). Apart from Yuki Yamato, I wasn't familiar with any of the chosen creators, so I was looking forward to the result.

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Lack of consistency is often seen as a weak point of anthologies, personally I love the versatility they bring. That's my only real critique here. While there are a few highlights and no real disappointments, I expected a bit more variation in themes and styles. It too often feels like there's just one typical 21st century girl, which is highly doubtful.

My main takeaway from this film is that Yuki Yamato is by far one of the most promising young directors working in Japan today. I instantly recognized her short and it's easily the stand-out of the bunch. The rest of the women deliver solid films, and they all deserve their shot at a full-length feature. For an anthology though, I expected a tad more creativity.

Girls' Encounter

Shôjo Kaikô
2017 / 101m - Japan
Girls' Encounter poster

A unique drama. It's the kind of film you get when you let a young person direct a film. Eda was only 24 years old when she made this film, and you can feel the youthful energy dripping from every pore. Not that it's a very action-driven film, on the contrary, it's poetic and meditative, just in a very different way.

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Miyuri has no friends, she's very introverted and the girls at school bully her. She is on the verge of self-harm when suddenly Tsumugi opens up to her and becomes her friend. Miyuri slowly starts to open up as she gets accepted by the other girls in her class, but she harbors a dark secret.

There are some slight fantastical elements, the presentation is dreamy, and the camerawork is tender and crisp. The performances are strong too, but the symbolism is a tad overwrought and the film's a bit too nervous at times to be truly transfixing. Still, Eda shows a lot of promise here, I'm disappointed to see that she pivoted to TV work, as she has the potential to turn out a masterpiece.