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“Remembering Every Night” Dreams On

Written by: Christopher Llewellyn Reed | September 15th, 2023

Film poster: “Remembering Every Night”

Remembering Every Night (Yui Kiyohara, 2022) 3 out of 4 stars.

The camera and narrative both drift amiably from frame to frame in Remembering Every Night, the second feature from Japanese writer/director Yui Kiyohara (Our House). There are three protagonists, though it takes the viewer a while to meet each of them. As if in a dream, their separate stories intersect and diverge in sometimes oblique ways, all the while leading to a conclusion of seeming lightness that contains moving truths.

The three women at the center are the middle-aged (and currently unemployed) Chizu  (Kumi Hyôdô), the thirtysomething gas-meter reader Sanae (Minami Ohba), and twentysomething college student Natsu (Ai Mikami). Their gentle adventures take place in the Tama New Town suburb of Tokyo. There, they inadvertently cross paths during a single day in which their own personal pursuits overlap.


First on screen is Chizu, whose life has taken a turn for the quiet since she was laid off from her job as a kimono dresser. We follow her as she seeks new work and then travels to see an old friend, encountering a former colleague along the way. As she stops to attempt to help some children who have lost something up a tree, we suddenly cut to Sanae, observing Chizu’s efforts. From there, it becomes her story.

Taking readings, Sanae is called over by an elderly resident of the apartment complex, who insists she take a bag of mandarins while also informing her that a 93-year-old man in the same building has gone missing. As Sanae continues on with her tasks, she happens to come upon the old man, whom she tries to help, though with initially limited success. Walking with him, she once again passes by Chizu.

Minami Ohba (left) in REMEMBERING EVERY NIGHT ©KimStim

Chizu, in turn, leads us to a field where Natsu is dancing for her own pleasure, and now we follow her. She bikes to see the mother of a deceased male school chum (who will later prove important, courtesy of photos he left behind) before then meeting a female friend for a trip to an archaeological museum. Now our cast is complete, and Kiyohara proceeds to cut between them.

There’s also an opening prologue featuring young musicians, and the movie’s score often sounds like an improvised jam session, as if our initial, thereafter incidental, characters are still with us, even if out of sight. Kiyohara forges other connections between visuals, sounds, and people in subtle, almost imperceptible ways. Though the plot appears minimal, by the end the director has managed to insert some impressive dramatic beats.

Ai Mikami (right) in REMEMBERING EVERY NIGHT ©KimStim

If the experience can occasionally feel a little too aimless, know that the reward is primarily in the watching, no matter how oblique the cinematic pattern. From beneath the calm of a warm summer day, powerful emotions surface. Not all is said, but much is felt.


Christopher Llewellyn Reed is a film critic, filmmaker, and educator, as well as Film Festival Today's Editor. A member of both the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, Chris is, in addition, lead film critic at Hammer to Nail and the author of Film Editing: Theory and Practice.

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