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Ajyal Film Festival 2018

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The Night I Swam

Ajyal Competition - Ajyal Film Festival 2018

Damien Manivel, Kohei Igarashi / Feature Narrative / France, Japan / 2017 / 78 min / Colour / DCP / In No Dialogue / Gulf Premiere
Rated: Parental guidance is advised. Some material may be inappropriate for young children.


In the beautiful snow-covered mountains of Japan, a fisherman makes his daily trip to the market in a nearby town. His early departure wakes his six-year-old son, Takara, who has trouble getting back to sleep. Understandably drowsy from the night before, the boy struggles on his way to school and strays off the beaten path into the snow. Weighed down by his schoolbag, but without a care in the world, he rambles through an almost dream-like landscape as he sets off on a day-long escapade.

This charmingly innocent adventure is captured in stunning frames, and although void of dialogue, plays with engrossing ambient sounds. The film's beauty lies in this understated simplicity and silence, its essence being the lack of contact between Takara and his father and the absence of any communication between the pair. Through our knee-high hero, we begin to experience the world from a child's perspective, often becoming as lost as he is but enjoying the journey regardless. The film skips along from one entertaining event to another with sprinkles of suspense as we begin to wonder how such a little boy can sustain such a big adventure.

About the Director

Damien Manivel has made several renowned shorts including 'The Lady with the Dog' (Jean Vigo Prize) and 'A Sunday Morning' (Cannes Critics Week Award). 'A Young Poet', his first feature film, received the Special Mention at Locarno Film Festival. His second feature film 'The Park' premiered at Cannes festival in 2016.

Kohei Igarashi directed his first feature film, 'Voice of Rain That Comes at Night', in 2008 which received the Critic’s Award at Cinema Digital Seoul Film Festival. He went on to study at Tokyo University of Arts, where he made 'Hold Your Breath Like a Lover' as his final year student film, which was selected in competition at Locarno Film Festival in 2014.


Damien Manivel, Kohei Igarashi
Damien Manivel, Martin Bertier, Makoto Oki
William Laboury
Jérôme Petit
Wataru Takahashi
Sales Company
Production Company
MLD Films, Nobo, Shellac
Jérôme Petit
Takara Kogawa

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