The marvels in the special relationship between dogs and human form the backdrop for this multi-award-winning movie, based on a novel by Ryohei Akimoto and Kengo Ishiguro and known in Japan as “Modoken Kuiro no Issho.” One out of a litter of five Labrador retriever puppies, Quill’s name comes from a distinctive marking on his side that resembles a bird.
As a puppy, Quill is sent to live with a couple, Isamu and Mitsuko Nii (Teruyuki Kagawa and Shinobu Terajima), who work as volunteers training guide dogs. When he grows up, he is taken to a guide dog school, by a friendly yet firm trainer Satoru Tawada (Kippei Shina). Although Quill is a little slower than the other dogs, he seems to have an unusual empathy and remarkable patience with his trainers.
Satoru decides that Quill would be the ideal guide dog for Mitsuru Watanabe (Kaoru Kobayashi), but the lonely and ill-tempered middle-aged man isn’t as enthusiastic — he would “would rather sleep than be dragged around by a dog.” Slowly, Watanabe is rehabilitated, venturing into the outside world and learning not only to trust other humans but also the animal at his side.
The story is narrated by Watanabe’s daughter, Mitsuko (Yukika Sakuratani). The cast also include Yawara Matsuda as Watanabe’s son, Etsuo; Keiko Toda as Watanabe’s wife, Yoshiko; and Hiroko Natori as Ren Mito, Quill’s first owner.
WLA UMC has held free screenings of Japanese movies on the last Friday of each month since 2011. There will be no screenings in November and December due to the holiday season.
For more information, call (310) 479-1379 or visit www.wlaumc.com.