Kore-eda’s ‘I Wish’ Playing in Southern California

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Joe Odagiri, Koki Maeda, Nene Ohtsuka and Ohshiro Maeda in a scene from "I Wish." (Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s latest film, “I Wish” (2011), is playing at the following Southland theaters:

* Laemmle’s Playhouse 7, 673 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 844-6500

Showtimes: 1, 4, 7 and 9:55 p.m. (ends May 17)

* Landmark Regent, 1045 Broxton Ave., Los Angeles, (310) 281-8223

Showtimes: 2:30, 5:15 and 8 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday; 3:45 p.m. Monday (ends May 15)

* Laemmle’s Town Center 5, 17200 Ventura Blvd., Encino, (818) 981-9811

Showtimes: 1, 4 and 7 p.m. (ends May 17)

“I Wish” will also open on June 1 at the following California theaters: Shattuck Cinemas 10 in Berkeley, Cinemas Palme D’Or 7 in Palm Desert, Hillcrest Cinemas in San Diego, Embarcadero Center Cinema 5 in San Francisco, Camera 3 in San Jose, and Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.

Hirokazu Kore-eda (Photo courtesy of Magnolia PIctures)

Released by Magnolia Pictures, the movie runs 2 hours and 8 minutes, is subtitled in English, and is rated PG.

Twelve-year-old Koichi lives with his mother and grandparents in a small town by a smoking volcano. His parents’ divorce has split the family, with his younger brother Ryu and their feckless rock musician dad living over a hundred miles away. Koichi yearns for his family to be reunited, and when he learns that a new bullet train line will soon open — linking the two towns — he starts to believe that the combined energy when two trains pass each other at top speed could make his wish come true.

With the help of friends, Koichi organizes an expedition to the mid-point of the train lines, with Ryu coming from the other direction — all of them thinking about what they would most like to wish for.

A sweet ode to what we value in life, written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Kore-eda (“Nobody Knows,” “Still Walking,” “Air Doll,” “After Life”), who is known for his keen depictions of the trials and tribulations of everyday existence, the innocent minds of children and the warmth of family life.

The Japanese title is “Kiseki” (Miracle). The cast includes Koki Maeda, Ohshirô Maeda, Ryôga Hayashi, Seinosuke Nagayoshi, Kyara Uchida, Kanna Hashimoto, Rento Isobe, Nene Ohtsuka, Joe Odagiri, Yui Natsukawa, Masami Nagasawa, Hiroshi Abe, Yoshio Harada, Kirin Kiki and Isao Hashizume.

Born in Tokyo in 1962, Kore-eda graduated from Waseda University in 1987 and joined TV Man Union, directing several prize-winning documentaries. His debut feature, “Maborosi” (1995), began a career that has made him one of the most respected directors today. Kore-eda, who recently became a father, said that filming children in movies like “Nobody Knows” and “I Wish” helps him to “see society through their eyes and through their existence.”

Visit the film’s official website here.

Ohshiro Maeda and Koki Maeda in a scene from "I Wish." (Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)

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