|Diane J. Kami||Art Director|
Hikikomori is an unusual psychological condition that occurs most often among teenage boys in Japan. Those who suffer from hikikomori practice what one psychologist has called "self-incarceration," in which they lock themselves away in their room and refuse to come out, cutting off all contact with the world for months or even years on end. In the documentary Left Handed, British filmmaker Laurence Thrush looks in on one family whose son Hiroshi is one of the estimated one million teenagers suffering from hikikomori. While Hiroshi's parents care for their son and make sure he's fed, they can't break through the emotional wall the boy has built around him, and like many families dealing with this problem, they're too ashamed to discuss their son's condition with friends. Filmmaker Thrush puts a particular emphasis on Hiroshi's mother, who puts on a brave face but slowly begins to collapse under the stress of her son's refusal to meet the world around him. Left Handed was an official selection at the 2009 Rotterdam International Film Festival.