Opening 29 Mar 2018
Mike has locked himself in his room and refuses to come out (except for quick visits to the bathroom). His father Thomas (Bjarne Mädel), his mother Susanne (Biblana Beglau) and his sister Miriam (Emma Bading) knock, put food in front of the door, and call his name. He never appears, not even when they gather to wish him a happy 18th birthday. The only signs of life are hand-written comments about rain (the title translates to 1000 Ways to Describe Rain) that he pushes out from under the door. When friends and neighbors inquire, the family says, “Mike is in Ohio,” although he is behind the door in Germany. For 90 minutes we also stand in this small apartment and look at the closed door, which is almost an actor in its own right. At the same time we learn more about the parents and sister, as they become more aware of themselves.
The topic treated in the film is based on a custom or, rather, a phenomenon, in Japan called Hikikomori. This idea of shutting one’s self away from society seems to be popular in Japan and coming slowly to Europe. It originates comes from a feeling of being unable to cope: excessive demands, fear of failure, expectations, and responsibility of adult life. This is a film to think about even days later, one to discuss with others who are interested in psychological influences while growing up. (Becky Tan)