Any Ai Hashimoto fan out there? If yes, then make sure you don’t miss this wonderful film. Little Forest is based on a manga by Daisuke Igarashi. It tells the story of a young girl named Ichiko (Ai Hashimoto) who lives on her own in the countryside called Komori around the Tohoku region.
People coming in thinking it’s the usual movie pattern will be surprised. But don’t worry, it will be a pleasant surprise. What makes this film special is that it doesn’t follow the usual movie style, instead, it incorporates a different concept which at times, make it look like a documentary.
There’s no specific plot or story to tell, in fact, conversation lines are scarce and most of them are from Ichiko’s narration as she explains all the things she’s doing, while farming, cooking and some flashbacks of her childhood. The plot doesn’t really go anywhere, it’s almost static except for the seasons. This is another bizarre part of the film. It’s divided into four seasons – Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring. The first installment is Summer & Autumn, which I’m going to briefly review now. The next part Winter/Spring will be released pretty soon so just wait a bit longer.
So in different seasons, Ichiko will prepare different dishes to suit the weather. In the entire film, you’ll see her farming, harvesting, chopping woods, slaughtering a duck, fishing and cook all kinds of dishes on her own, mostly in her house. The most interesting part is of course, the dishes.
She explains the process of preparing and cooking the dishes, including naming the ingredients used. In some ways, it’s like a cooking show but more intimate and ‘documentary style’?
I like the simplicity of this film. Komori looks beautiful and the landscape shots with the skies are worthwhile. They’re splendid. They really captured the livelihood of the countryside people, how they survive by farming and whatnot. There are some interaction between Ichiko and the villagers, including childhood friends.
Spare some time to watch this. It’s one of a kind. I don’t really cook myself, but having watched Ichiko prepare so varied dishes, they all look delicious by the way, I’m sort of tempted to try a few myself now. Personally, I’m sure my mother will love this film (she’ll probably be fascinated by the dishes). Fans of Ai Hashimoto should not miss this either. It reminds me of Satoyama program (Hello! Project) where the members go to the countryside and farm, then cook various food. You don’t often get to see young girls farming right lol…anyways, I think Ai Hashimoto did a great job, pretty sure she learned a lot during the filming. Besides that, the background music is very fitting, often with light acoustic guitars and yes, I want to mention the theme songs as well, they’re from FLOWER FLOWER or in other words, YUI’s band. If you still remember who YUI is. Love the songs.