I think this feature deserved more publicity and praise. I found the movie firmly set in fantasy, poetry and mysticism. It’s also just above an hour long, which I found rather difficult to set expectations for. The movie uses its length to great effect though, to the point that I found myself wondering how they managed to deliver a full-length movie in just sixty-one minutes.

(Source: Fantasia Film Festival)

Sayo was written, directed and edited by Jeremy Rubier with cinematography by Allen Lv. Nagisa (Nagisa Chauveau) misses her sister Sayo who has passed away. She feels remorse for not answering a letter that asked her to leave Japan and come to Paris. Nagisa feels she needs one more conversation before she can have closure. Grieving, she sends out a prayer and receives a response in the form of a journey into the supernatural region where souls still inhabit the earth.

This is a beautiful looking movie. Special effects are rather minimalistic. The views and natural landscapes of Japan come to life and makes us feel already in a different world. So, this is another feature where I have to praise the cinematography once more and I’m happy to do it. Despite its short runtime, nothing feels rushed. Nagisa is aware there’s a price to pay for this journey, made possible by The Driver (Jai West). That price might just cost Nagisa her life.

Highly recommended. It’s an almost spiritual journey with natural landscapes captured in all their splendor. It’s unhurried despite its short length, and almost feels like a poetic contemplation of the Japanese countryside. If you’re in the mood to see it, it’s really a soothing film without any particular violence or direct antagonist. And yet, there are odds to surmount, both emotional and spiritual to get the protagonist to finally accomplish her goal.

That will do for now.