Kanashimi Image


By Alan Ng | July 24, 2023

I thought I knew at least the basics surrounding death and loss. Unfortunately, you never truly know until you actually lose someone close, which happened to me recently. Writer-director Michael Horwitz’s Kanashimi is a simple and insightful short film about grief.

The film opens with a mysterious box that arrives at the home of a Japanese couple, Kaito (Gaku Space) and Ayaka (Ariel Kayako Labasan). Just as its contents are revealed, we cut to Adam (Austin Basis), a frustrated American. Adam lost his father as a youth, and today, he lost his job. This comes at the worst possible time, as his wife, Kari (Jackie Misaye), is pregnant.

“…on the cusp of an emotional breakdown…a run at the beach…his only source of solace.”

Adam is on the cusp of an emotional breakdown. After a heated argument with Kari, he goes for a run at the beach. This is his only source of solace. Adam finds a strange object wedged between cliffside rocks on this particular run. What is this object, and could it be the key to his problems?

The theme of Kanashimi surrounds the film’s opening quote from V.S. Naipaul, “We are never finished with grief. It is part of the fabric of living.” It’s this idea that the story of those we lose never ends with death but lives within us forever. These stories of those we lose connect even strangers in some mystical/spiritual way.

As a film, writer/director Michael Horwitz tells a touching story. His use of light (or the lack thereof) and color perfectly sets the right tone for finding hope in hopelessness. Throughout Kanashimi, the filmmaker makes connections with loss and grief that extend far beyond his audience with his storytelling and beautiful performances from his cast.

For more information, visit the Kanashimi official website.

Kanashimi (2023)

Directed and Written: Michael Horwitz

Starring: Austin Basis, Jackie Misaye, Gaku Space, Ariel Kayako Labasan, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

Kanashimi Image

"…never finished with grief. It is part of the fabric of living..."

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