Film review: Radiance

This film review is well overdue as since encountering Radiance early this year I have watched it over 5 times including the times that I have just listened to the audio as I fell asleep. That is how much impact this film made in my life the first time I watched it and I feel that it deserves even more recognition than it did when it was first released.


Radiance is the 2017 film directed by Naomi Kawase it is a film which takes us through the journey of Misako who is a writer for audio descriptions used in films. It is a tale of Misako getting back into the world – enjoying the world and fully understanding the sensory nature of living. Throughout the film Misako regains the radiance that the world used to give her which was slowly been stripped away from her or which she lost sight of. Misako meets Nakamori, a retired photographer, who is visually impaired and is slowly losing his sight; they meet at a film screening designed to test out audio descriptions on a group of visually impaired people before releasing it to the masses. As Nakamori’s and Misako’s relationship grows, Misako gains more insight into what loss is and how someone can lose something so precious to them, something that has defined their existence until that point- but still carry on. This very thing is what Nakamori had to do as his passion for photography was thrown out has his sight started to gradually disappear.

Themes: Hope, Love for life, Loss

All music composed by Ibrahim Maalouf


Nothing is more beautiful than what disappears

Radiance – 2018

Usually the things that are the most valuable to us are the things that leave us too soon. In life, love, sight and even life itself come and go leaving us only with a longing for them to come back. Sometimes we take we don’t fully see what we have until it’s gone. I feel like some people some are going to say that quote is very overused as it’s not said enough as now and again it’s key to highlight the fact that we should take care of what’s important. Since it’s difficult for us to fully grasp what it really means until it actually happens to us and then we become a carrier of the message to those around us. The film radiance does something so beautiful with implementing the theme of loss and fragility of human life. That’s what makes us human we to be human, the film states, is to live on even though you want to die and to die even though you want to live on. It is this fragility that should inspire us to live the way we want to, to stretch out our arms as far as they reach before we are forced to reel them back in.

 Radiance also does a great job in letting the audience become more in tune with their senses. Whoever oversaw sound did an amazing job as in every single scene it is possible to just close your eyes and feel as if you are part of the scene. This is especially the case when the Misako goes to see her mom in the Japanese countryside and all that is to be heard is the wind smashing against the trees, the birds calling out to each other which is indeed beautiful. These scenes make me realise that we need to be more in tune with the surroundings especially in this day and age with social media , I feel as a whole our society has become more aloof in a way that we rather socialise with your friends through a screen than meeting people in person and experience in the world. It’s not just about being with people physically; even being by ourselves and listening to the things that are layered in the daily soundtrack of the world. Is our aloofness from ourselves because we are scared of being alone, because we are so scared of  the silence that aloneness brings- not knowing that even our heart beat, the whistling of the wind, the echoes of each and every creature on this planet alone can sing the sweetest tune.


Name something so beautiful that you would not be able to do without in this lifetime?

[ Watch Radiance Now on Amazon Prime]

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