On a peculiarly hot November afternoon, a young Japanese immigrant named Hiro (Junshin Soga) welcomes his cousin Kei (Taiju Nakane) to New York City. Scouting out a new apartment in Chinatown, Hiro takes Kei along for the ride and, on a whim, decides to buy a live chicken to butcher for dinner. As they traverse the city, the pair are shaken up by a medical emergency on the street that brings to relief their unwitting complicity in everyday instances of structural violence—and upsets Hiro’s dinner plans. Gorgeously shot on 16mm, Neo Sora’s deftly directed short film reinterprets a century-old short story by Naoya Shiga to offer pointed commentary on contemporary life.
“The strength of The Chicken … is that it makes us believe that everything is taking place on a purely existential level (a “slice of life” broadening into a “moral tale”) when it is really operating deep in the waters of the subconscious.” —Cahiers du Cinéma
“A sweet, day-in-the-life-in-the-city journey that becomes unforgettable by dinner’s end.” —Hyperallergic
Streaming in the U.S. from February 5-11 as part of 21st Century Japan: Films from 2001-2020
In English and Japanese with English and Japanese subtitles