Completion: April, 2011
Japanese Release: September, 2011
Market Screening: Marche du Film
Starring: Osamu Mukai (BECK, HANAMIZUKI)
Director: Kenta Fukasaku (YO-YO GIRL COP, Battle Royale II-Requiem)
One person's efforts might not be enough to change the world.
But we tried anyway, and definitely learned something new.
Based on a true story that will leave a refreshing impression on viewers' hearts, this is the birth of a completely new type of teen movie!
We Can't Change the World was a book written and self-published in 2008 by Kota Hada, a real-life university student, based on his own experiences. This true story vividly depicted the way in which an ordinary university student began to better understand himself and the society around him by volunteering to build an elementary school in Cambodia, an activity he began on a whim. Shortly after the book was published, the descriptive account by a real-life university student created a sensation over the Internet. This is the long-awaited filmization of the story by some of today's finest cast and crew.
"With a donation of 1,500,000 yen, a school with five classrooms can be built in Cambodia."
When hearing the phrase "building a school in Cambodia," one might envision a serious story about such things like international contribution and social service, but the one depicted in this film is about the life of an ordinary university student. He spends carefree days fooling around with friends, drinking, working part-time, and picking up girls. But something is lacking. He wants to do something interesting; he wants excitement! Feeling vaguely dissatisfied with his life, he happens to come across a pamphlet recruiting foreign aid volunteers. The copy on the pamphlet says, "With a donation of 1,500,000 yen, a school with five classrooms can be built in Cambodia." The student begins to collect donations on a whim, but through his activities he comes up against social problems, as well as finding love and friendships.
Osamu Mukai stars as the protagonist Kota Tanaka, a medical student who persuades his friends to cooperate with him in taking action towards collecting enough money to build a school in Cambodia. He gave impressive performances in such films as HANAMIZUKI and BECK released in 2010, and also became a household name through his portrayal of comic artist Shigeru Mizuki in the NHK morning serial drama GEGEGE NO NYOUBOU (10). He selected this project from among the flood of new offers as his first starring role in a feature film. Mukai has expressed a deep emotional attachment to Cambodia, and has often commented that the country is "like the home of a cherished second family." This film commemorates the beginning of a new stage in his acting career.
The supporting cast includes: Tori Matsuzaka of the TV drama GOLD (10, Fuji TV) as Mitsuru Honda, a guy Kota meets at a party; Tasuku Emoto of the film TOKYO ISLAND (10) as Kota's friend Tadashi Shibayama; and Masataka Kubota of 13 ASSASSINS (10) as another friend, Masayuki Yano. Also, Eri Murakawa of ROOKIES THE MOVIE (09) plays Kaori Kubo, the student nurse that Kota is in love with, and Hiroshi Abe, whose recent appearances include ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS (10) and ONCE IN A BLUE MOON (11) among many others, gives a memorable performance as Kondo, the anatomy professor who watches over Kota and his friends.
The director is Kenta Fukasaku. After making his directorial debut with BATTLE ROYALE II: REQUIEM (03), he has directed works in many genres such as UNDER THE SAME MOON) (05) and YO-YO GIRL COP (06), and this film will be another ambitious work that will break new ground for him.
The shooting of the film began on October 17, 2010 on location in Japan, and two weeks of shooting took place in Cambodia in November. This film is scheduled to be released in theaters around the country in September 2011.
In August 2005, Kota (Osamu Mukai), a second-year medical student, was living a daily life that was relatively enjoyable in its way with his buddies Shibayama (Tasuku Emoto) and Yano (Masataka Kubota). But he felt that something was lacking, and wondered if there was something that could change his boring routine. As he spent his days with this nagging feeling in the back of his mind, he happened to come across a pamphlet at the post office recruiting foreign aid volunteers."Build a school for children with a roof over their heads. With a donation of 1,500,000 yen, a school with five classrooms can be built," it said.
The moment he picked the pamphlet up, Kota's future changed.
Kota immediately e-mails all of his acquaintances: "Let's build a school in Cambodia!" Whereas most of his friends dismiss his idea thinking that it is a prank or that it is impossible, Shibayama and Yano agree to help out, as well as Honda (Tori Matsuzaka), a guy they meet at a party. The four make every effort to gather supporters by picking up girls at nightclubs and handing out flyers on campus, and manage to hold a successful charity event.
Feeling that it is meaningless to just collect money, they venture on a study tour of Cambodia in order to research the local situation. But when they arrive at their destination, one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia, Kota and the others witness a much harsher reality than they had ever imagined. People forced to live in villages where landmines still remain, the reality of patients infected with HIV, and children who are unable to go to school...
Overwhelmed by the reality they faced, Kota and his friends return to Japan dejected, only to be hit with further misfortune. The president of the IT company that had been supportive of their endeavors is arrested in violation of the Securities and Exchange Act, and the reputation of their volunteer group plummets. Furthermore, their respective personal differences regarding future goals, love lives, and life-style choices end up causing discord among the four friends.
Will Kota and his friends be able to collect the necessary amount of money?
Will they be able to build a school for the children in Cambodia?