|I LOVE YOU|
Yutaka Osawa, Akihiro Yonaiyama Japan, 2000
Akihiro Yonaiyama in Person
Asako, played with subtle vulnerability by deaf actress Akiko Oshidari, leads a simple life in a small country town, surrounded by her precocious daughter, Ai, and her fireman husband, both hearing. One day Ai is accosted by a schoolmate who ridicules her for using sign language. Shattered by the wrong her daughter must endure, Asako vows to show that deafness is no hindrance to a full and engaged life. Resolute, she joins a Deaf theater company, the Hands Troupe, eventually enlisting even her own family in the enterprise—a signed production of Beauty and the Beast. Full of sweetness and tribulation, I Love You is the first Japanese feature codirected by a Deaf artist, Akihiro Yonaiyama, a founding member of Japan's own Deaf Theater. The film's ideal, captured poetically in the fable of the beast, peers beyond the hide of misconception to the common beauty that resides within. Delightfully rendered, this exceptional work rallies the talents of many deaf actors and crew to break the sound barrier.
• Written by Yukiko Okazaki. Photographed by Kozo Okazaki. With Akiko Oshidari, Minoru Tanaka, Ai Okazaki, Mansaku Fuwa. (111 mins, In Japanese Sign Language and Japanese with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, From Akihiro Yonaiyama)