Fantasia 2021: “Dreams on Fire”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

We all want to become somebody one day. Someone who can be recognized beyond our name. We want to give the world the best version of ourselves. The version that has a unique capacity to do what most cannot. What happens if we cross the line of abundance of fear towards bravery, determination and will? Can it justify our actions because our hearts demands it more than our mind?

“Dreams on Fire” is the idolization of a dream, strong will, understanding of one’s self-power, ability to fight, take a hit or beat someone…. in dance, for instance. Yume has a spark. She has dancing skills and, as soon as you see it, you realize she must share them with the rest of the world. She pulls herself out of the family and goes to Tokyo to pursue her dream. She is probably ready to face the challenge. She knows the path towards success from a dream is paved through struggle. But will she be able to achieve it? Can she fulfil her desire to become an accomplished dancer?

Director Philippe McKie provides an insight into the world of one young woman who must first prove to herself that she’s worth it before aiming high. In the beginning, when we meet her first, she looks up at the stage when dancers showcase their marvellous moves. Yume is fascinated. She is in awe. She is amazed and electrified by the beauty of dance before her eyes. When she heads home, Yume is not afraid of confronting her grandfather (Akaj Maro) and mother (Ikuyo Kuroda). They are helpless in stopping the young woman from leaving home for Tokyo, for dance, her dream and love for art. “I would rather die than give up dancing”, says Yume. And when you see her making the first dance move, you will understand the full force of her words and why she would never make another choice for herself.

“Dreams on Fire” is a beautiful portrayal of what it takes to achieve the most desired wish. But it also highlights the importance of hard work, getting through the obstacles along the way, and being able to fight back when injustice occurs. Yume is someone who you will cheer for from start to end. When she fails, you will feel the failure; when she succeeds, you celebrate with her. The chemistry between her and the audience is undeniable, because she is one of the characters you will simply never forget. Due credit must go to the Japanese dance star, Bambi Naka, who provides a tour-de-force performance as a gentle and miniature urban dancer with a big heart and soul.

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