See You Tomorrow, Everyone ("Minasan, Sayonara")
Furoku, Japan. 1981. Satoru Watarai is about to graduate from the primary school nestled within the confines of the Furoku housing project, and enter the much larger world of junior high. This move means a life outside Furoku, a self-contained subsidized estate that has developed into a microcosmic, autonomous city of modern architecture and concrete convenience. Thanks to a shocking event that remains unexplained for much of the film, Satoru becomes mentally and physically marooned on the urban island of Furoku. He continues on, frozen in place as the years slip by, while Japan experiences the highs of the 1980s economic boom, and the harsh realities of the ’90s bust.
In SEE YOU TOMORROW, EVERYONE, every outsider has his home. As a result, Satoru’s alienation from the rest of the world inadvertently positions him as Furoku’s ultimate insider. He tracks the movements of its residents with the best of intentions, and becomes the saviour for more than one lost soul. Based on a novel by Takehiko Kubodera, SEE YOU TOMORROW, EVERYONE follows Satoru as he finds work in the local bakery, learns karate via the home-video instruction of the legendary Mas Oyama, and navigates the treacherous waters of sexual awakening with the help of the charmingly candid girl next door. As foreigners begin to populate the estate, and the traditional values of the post-war generation gradually disappear, Satoru’s tightly enclosed world serves as a neatly constructed metaphor for the social development of Japan.
With his best performance since Fantasia 2010’s FISH STORY, lead actor Gaku Hamada shines here in his fifth collaboration with director Yoshihiro Nakamura. Together, Hamada and Nakamura have crafted an exceptional coming-of-age story that examines the notion of home and the winding path to adulthood. In the Zen school of Buddhism, “satoru” roughly translates to “enlightenment”; in Japanese, it means “to know,” or “understand.” As a result, the Satoru of this story gradually becomes a highly insightful participant in an increasingly complex miniature society. SEE YOU TOMORROW, EVERYONE is a brilliant dissection of modern day Japan, and ultimately celebrates the recluse in all of us.
— Lindsay Peters