光を追いかけて Follow the Light

  • Follow the Light
  • Follow the Light
  • Follow the Light
  • Follow the Light
  • Follow the Light
  • Follow the Light
2021 / Drama, Sci-Fi / 104min G
Available Worldwide (except Japan)
English, Spanish (Latin America), Indonesian, Thai, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese
Contains drinking scenes.


"Light" shines upon the faces of the boys and girls whose hearts sway in their desolate hometown.

Akira is a second-year junior high school student who moved to Akita, his father's hometown, due to his parents' divorce. Struggling to adapt to his new school, he is filled with depression and resentment. One day, he witnesses a green light floating in the sky. Following the light, he arrives at a mysterious crop circle in a rice field, where he finds his classmate Maki, who has been absent from school. As they share a secret, the two quickly get closer. However, at the same time, their school is facing the impending closure due to depopulation. Cinema de Aeru, located in the neighboring prefecture of Iwate, praises this film for daringly portraying the contrast between the beauty and the decline of rural areas in Tohoku. They describe it as an expression of affection for his hometown from the director, who hails from Akita and hopes for a future even in regions close to their “limits”. They urge viewers to enjoy the picturesque scenery of the beautiful countryside and the fresh performances of the young boys and girls.
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Director Profile


Born in Akita in 1960, Narita has an impressive career as a commercial director, having worked on over 600 commercials since 1983. His talent and creativity have earned him numerous awards both in Japan and internationally. Now, in his long-awaited directorial debut , he sets the stage in his hometown of Akita for this film.
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Follow the Light
Cinema de Aeru
Cinema de Aeru

Akita, a beautiful countryside in Tohoku, Japan, glimmers with golden hues during the autumn harvest season. However, the region faces the challenge of a declining population, leading people to leave areas where sustainable living is no longer possible. Consequently, the once vibrant shopping district is now deserted, and the community’s central hub, the school, has been forced to close. The struggle of adults unable to find a solution casts a dark shadow on the sensitive hearts of children, creating a chain of unease that takes the story in unexpected directions.

In rural areas of the Tohoku region, despite their traditional, high-quality agriculture, rich history, and culture, their strength wanes in modern society. The breakdown of long-standing relationships among people who have cared for and supported each other deepens the feeling of hopelessness that seems to engulf everyone.

The film revolves around a School Closing Festival, with the tagline “Don’t hope for the light. Be the light.” It skillfully portrays the stark contrast between beauty and loneliness, even in areas that have reached the “limit” of their future. This expression is a testament to director NARITA Yoichi’s affection for his hometown of Akita. The performances of young boys and girls, the breathtaking rural landscapes, the mysterious development, and the finale create an engaging experience. Please enjoy it.

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I’ve been working as a commercial director for years, but I’ve also been striving to achieve my childhood dream to work as a film director. However, when I was struggling with a lack of ideas, I heard a story about a UFO experience from my uncle. He told me about seeing the “green light” flying in zigzags when he was a firefighter, and the next day he discovered a mystery circle in his own field. I thought that was it. By basing the story on a true event, it adds authenticity to the plot.
At first, I was considering a sci-fi entertainment, but due to the sense of deja vu and the mismatch in terms of budget, I decided to change the script to the serious drama that I originally wanted to create.
“Don’t hope for the light. Be the light.” This tagline encapsulates the essence of the entire film. It’s about not just waiting for light, but actively pursuing it, embracing it, and becoming a source of light for oneself, illuminating not only oneself but also those around you.
I’m not particularly fond of happy endings. I intend to aim for endings that hold a subtle sense of the future and great potential in my upcoming films as well.

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  • Germany

    I really liked the film. A nice coming age film!

  • France

    Wonderful movie, full of universal humanity… Life is not a long, quiet river, but let’s enjoy it together!

  • Thailand

    I appreciate the beautiful scenery of rural area in this movie, acting of boys and girls as student especially Akira and Maki, and ending song as well. I wish I could see next movie from Director in the future.
    May I ask the name of city that use as background place in this movie for in the future when I go to Japan I can go to visit this city.

  • Germany

    I so much enjoyed this movie. Great performances from young actors, slowly developing, but not boring for a second. I loved every minute of it, also the wonderful music. Not quite a cheesy happy ending, but a realistic end that still holds some promise for the future – congratulations!
    Might I ask the title of the wonderful song that was playing in the closing credits? Is there a way to download it from someplace? Thank you!

  • Thailand

    As from the agricultural country, this film depicts the story of rural lives quite realistic. Somehow, I love its happily peaceful ending❤️
    Overall, precious storytelling and scenic views!😊

  • Germany
    Anna Lazarescu

    This was such a hopeful and lovely outlook on the heaviness of change. Beautifully done and so well captured throughout the different characters.

  • Canada

    The ebb and flow of communities, livelihood and relationships are always to be found, lost and found again through endless transitions. Thank you for this caring film.

  • Poland

    Lovely movie, good story.

  • Taiwan, Province of China
    Denilla Hu


  • Tajikistan
    Thawatchai Duangnapa

    Personally, I am from Thailand, where most people have the same problem of falling agricultural prices as in the context of this story. Although the content of the story does not focus on saving the city, I still feel the hope that the movie leaves for me. Thank you very much.

  • Russian Federation

    Beautiful characters living in beautiful Tohoku find their happiness despite economical difficulties. Love it!
    And UFO. Well, that could be anything else with a mission to bring light to be followed 🙂
    Many thanks to all who created this film!

  • United States of America

    A lovely film set in a beautiful rural area. Really Enjoyed it!

  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
    Tim Walker

    This was perhaps my favourite film of the 5 I’ve watched from this festival. I was skeptical about the UFO storyline but the way it was integrated into a touching and very real story of change in rural Japan worked well. The acting was excellent and the ending beautiful. I stayed watching Akira cycling through the countryside soaking up the lovely singing that accompanied it. I’d always heard of Akita but never had the chance to visit. The film shows its great beauty while unflinchingly showing the hardships of its people in the midst of depopulation.

  • Viet Nam
    Ca Tran

    So gentle, so powerful and still unique in a very Japanese way. I love this. The more you watch, the more you want to understand Japanese rural society.

  • Australia
    Matthew Granger

    A fresh, wonderful, moving film, with great cinematography, audio, and great performances, especially from the young cast. The relationships between them, and between the actors and their environment, was moving. A wonderful film indeed.

  • India

    Mesmerising visuals with great writing! Beautiful film, especially loved the poetic manner in which the various shots were stringed together. The actors really touched my heart. In particular, the classroom scene towards the end was a masterpiece – with every character giving a brilliant performance.

  • United States of America

    Your film brings many to the realization of what is happening to our rural communities- what will bring us back home? The beauty and strength of the people who produce substance for the rest of us.

    How can we bring back our communities 💙 well captured in your story. Thank you

  • Thailand

    สนุกมากครับ มุมกล้อง แสง landscape สวยมากๆๆๆๆ
    10 / 10 เลยครับ

  • Philippines
    Ramil Vicente

    I love this film. The fleshed-out characters, cinematography, and soundtracks. I’m so glad I took some time to watch this. Thank you JFF for letting me watch this beautiful film for free.

  • Brazil
    Henry Shingo Iwamoto

    Filme muito sensível, para pensar as prioridades pessoais, gostei bastante e deveria colocar para exibição no circuito dos cinemas alternativos nos diversos países a que se propóe, é difícil dimensionar o gosto popular acredito que fariam bastante sucesso inclusive para o comércio destes filmes. Eu gostaria de comprar uma cópia de diversos filmes reflexivos, destes seriados anuais.

  • Indonesia

    It’s a good film! The story, the actor actress, the scenery of Akita city makes me feel blessed to watch this movie. Arigatou, JF!

  • Mexico

    Es sin duda una película que explora el amplio espectro de la juventud, desde la vulnerabilidad, la crueldad, la inestabilidad, y el dolor; pero también toca el compañerismo, la amistad, el perdón, la aceptación y la esperanza en el porvenir. Me encantó, se siente muy cercana y los personajes muy reales.

  • Colombia

    Bueno, bueno, bueno, lo que esta película me hizo sentir, merece el rótulo de ‘Internacional’, debería estar promocionada en muchos lugares! La disfruté de principio a fin, aunque me queda un poco de sinsabor al final, pero la canción lo soluciona todo. De mis favoritas!

  • Australia
    Gentry Winters

    Absolutely stunning cinematography and inspiring story line. The piano backing track was a bit overpowering on my Sony tv and the long, dramatic pauses in the acting in certain scenes gave it a manga-like feel. I want to visit Akita now.

  • India

    I really enjoyed the movie , the beautiful scenery, music and the acting in the film ,
    felt refreshed

  • United States of America

    The soundtrack and cinematography beginning at 1:27:00 to 1:29:00 is among the best I have ever seen. Absolutely perfect in my opinion. A very beautiful movie.

  • Philippines
    Marjorie Migo

    Done watching.
    I do love this drama 😊
    What a beautiful place in Japan, Akita 😱.
    Thank you JFF for this drama 😊❤

  • Mexico

    Por momentos recuerda a “All About Lily Chu Chou” pero con una perspectiva menos fatalista sin dejar de lado un aspecto social interesante : El cambio de vidas que se produce a partir de un fin de cursos.En esta cinta, el fin de curso implica también el final de un momento en la vida.

  • Germany

    A wonderful movie. Great cinematography, actors, and a story full of love, longing, social issues. A drama definitely not to miss!

  • Indonesia

    film yang sangat bagus, menggambarkan perjuangan, belajar memahami diri sendiri, menerima diri, dan kasih sayang ketulusan. i love you, Maki. Akira.
    rate: 4.5/5

  • Malaysia

    loved the movie! loved how it potrays one’s hometown is where we truly belong.

    thank you JFF for the FREE movie screenings!

  • Argentina

    INteresnte hermosos paisajes, cada vez mas entiendo y comprendo los tiempos y los silencios del cine japones, como dejan entreveer una y otra historia, con personajes y actuaciones que a mi parecer lo hacen bien. me encanto los paisajes. y logre ver lo duro y ardua tarea que llevan las personas de los pueblos, la filosofia de aunque todo este perdido, siempre tomarlo de la mejor manera. me gusto y la musica final con todo ese paisaje me encanto

  • Germany
    Horst Fabry

    Everytime i am in Japan and visit the countryside i encounter such contrast between the beautiful environment and the people struggle to earn a living there. So i could really “feel” this film.

  • Australia

    A moving and intriguing film which also touches on some important social issues.

  • Argentina

    La idea de la película está bien, pero el desarrollo es bastante desparejo. Me ha parecido un poco un cuento rosa con final feliz. El final se alarga sin sentido, mostrando a todos los personajes volviéndose buenos y tolerantes. Un poco infantil a mi parecer.

  • Argentina
    alicia lila pesce

    es un homenaje a una vida en contacto con la naturaleza que se va perdiendo. SIN EMBARGO VOLVER A EMPEZAR ES POSIBLE.ES UNA PELÍCULA DE APARIENCIA SENCILLA PERO MUY PROFUNDA. MUCHAS GRACIAS AJFF

  • Italy
    Roberto Surace

    Watching the movie I’ve learned what happen in rural area of Japan. Unfortunately It happend all over the industrial countries. But the movie show us there is always a way yout.

  • Germany

    I really enjoyed watching this film! They could have made the ending a bit better, but the film is really good.

  • Philippines
    Melita Barcelona

    Loved this film! Thanks for showing us what Akita is like and for caring about agriculture.

  • Hungary
    Norbert Hanny

    Beautiful drama. I am honoured that I had the chance to watch it. Thank you!

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