Under the Open Sky

Japan | 2020 | 126 minutes | Miwa Nishikawa

April 8 - 18, 2021

Yakusho Kôji (The Third Murder) gives a riveting performance as a lifelong Yakuza, released from prison after 13 years, whose journey to find the mother who abandoned him as a child is hindered by his gangster past.

After serving 13 years in prison for murder, feared yakuza thug Masao Mikami (Koji Yakusho) is released into an utterly unfamiliar world. Growing up abandoned to an orphanage as a child, Mikami led a predictably sketchy adolescence of juvenile delinquency, followed by a series of prison terms. Now middle-aged and free, he faces an entirely new challenge: finding a job in the conformist bureaucracy of Tokyo. With few employers willing to trust him, Mikami endures the humiliations of accepting welfare assistance and his frustrating inability to re-obtain his driver’s license. Meanwhile, a lurid crime-TV program seeks to exploit his story, expecting him to fall back into his mobster lifestyle. Inevitably, the hot-tempered Mikami does begin to reconnect with his yakuza associates, only to find that even the criminal gangs are also feeling the intense pressure to assimilate and embrace the “open sky” of legitimacy. Director Miwa Nishikawa’s compassionate, humanistic story of criminal rehabilitation sympathizes with the dilemma that ex-cons face. The hair-trigger personalities that draw them into their brutal worlds only confirm the fears of condescending employers. Along his perilous journey of redemption, Mikami gradually learns to respect the basic kindnesses shown to him by a small circle of new friends. But can he reconcile his animal impulse to respond to challenges with violence before it consumes him?

— Randy Woods

Director Biography
Miwa Nishikawa was born in Hiroshima. She received a degree in literature from Waseda University, and apprenticed under Hirokazu Kore-eda before embarking on a directorial career.

  • Original Language Title: Subarashiki Sekai (すばらしき世界)
  • Director: Miwa Nishikawa
  • Principal Cast: Yakusho Koji, Taiga Nakano, Masami Nagasawa, Isao Hashizune, Meiko Keiji, Seiji Ryokkaku, Yukiya Kitamura
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: Japan
  • Year: 2020
  • Running Time: 126 minutes
  • Producer: Asako Nishikawa, Taichi Ito, Eiji Kitahara
  • Screenplay: Miwa Nishikawa, based on the novel by Ryuzo Saki
  • Cinematographers: Norimichi Kasamatsu
  • Editors: Tomomi Kikuchi, Ryuji Miyajima
  • Music: Masaki Hayashi
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Chicago International Film Festival 2020 (Audience Award, Best Performance)
  • Filmography: The Long Excuse (2016); Dreams for Sale (2012); Dear Doctor (2009); Sway (2006); Wild Berries (2003)
  • Language: Japanese
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • International Sales: GAGA Corporation