Littlerock (2010) - Mike Ott
Rintaro and Atsuko are Japanese siblings visiting America for the first time. Their plan is to visit Manzanar, a place where many Japanese were detained by the U.S. government after World War II. On their way, the come across a sleepy, stagnant dust town outside Los Angeles called Littlerock. Outsiders at first, Atsuko takes a liking to the directionless youth of the town, opting to stay longer than originally planned. Mike Ott's Littlerock is an evocative drama exploring how a person's life is somewhat shaped by their past. Littlerock is a slow paced experience that could be described as observational filmmaking. It's essentially a "fish out of water story" but what makes it so rich is that it doesn't merely show the perspective of Atsuko but also the local Littlerock residents as they attempt to relate to this Japanese woman. My favorite aspect of the film though revolves around the relationship which forms between Atsuko and Corey, a kind, lonely twenty-something who takes care of her. The relationship between Corey and Atsuko is what really shapes the central theme of the film, effectively capturing the cruel reality of cultural miscommunication that can lead to unnecessary and unwanted strife. Atsuko and Corey are never really able to communicate and understand each other fully, due to Atsuko not speaking English, which develops into a beautiful bittersweet love story. Mike Ott's Littlerock is mildly engaging and breezy, offering a genuine slice of life in a small town from an outsider's point of view.
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