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Fantasia 2019 Film Review: “We Are Little Zombies” (2019) ★★★


We adults can barely cope with the loss of a loved one. So, what should children do when they lose their parents overnight? It does not matter how hard we try to explain to them that all this is just a part of the cycle of life, they will stay where they feel they must, just to carry on from one day to another. “We are Little Zombies” is, in a way, a sad film about the power of death and what it can do human life. But it’s also about how the same human life that can find light in the darkest of places.

“We Are Little Zombies” follows four young children who have never met each other before – Hikari, Ikuko, Ishi, and Takemura. They meet at a crematorium to pick up the ashes of their parents. As they have no idea why they can’t properly mourn the death of their parents nor shed a tear, the children begin seeing themselves as emotionless zombies who are not capable of feeling anything other than a blank reflection of life. Realizing that there is not much they can do about their current existence, with an uncertain future nor a clear plan, the group forms a musical band naming themselves Little Zombies, hoping, maybe this way they will be able to extract the right amount of emotions to begin enjoying life once again.

Written and directed by Makoto Nagahisa, “We Are Little Zombies” is like a love letter to this life, or to those who do not believe in the ability to feel, experience, and continue their quest through the arc until light is seen. Its protagonists are having their own reasons for not feeling anything after hearing the news that their parents have deceased. They had felt alone even when their parents were alive. But what they learn over the course the film is that the true definition of loneliness is not when you have no one around, but when you can do something about it when there is no hope left. And in the end, it’s all about the beauty of feelings, smiling, and enjoying life even when there’s no reason to do that. And that’s something these four teenagers will help us clearly understand.

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