Starring: Yosuke Kubozuka, Takashi Naito, Koyuki Director: Junichi Mori Category: I (Japanese) Director Junichi Mori cut his teeth in the world of advertising, and he brings a commercial sensibility to this sweet little debut, doing everything in his power to leave us feeling warm and fuzzy. There's little doubt about whom the film is aimed at, too. You can almost sense the cinema filling up with young lovers and the lovelorn trying to remember what it's all about. The plot is a bit like Forest Gump Falls Head Over Heels. Teru (Yosuke Kubozuka) is a winsome 20-year-old who fell down a manhole when he was a child. The resulting damage to his brain has left him simple, something we know immediately because he has that idiot grin and a far-away look in his eyes. Teru looks after his grandmother's laundry and it's at the laundromat that he first meets the beautiful Mizue (Koyuki). She leaves some of her clothes behind, he returns them, and a bond is formed. At first we think Mizue may be as close to perfect as one can get, but gradually Mori strips her layers down until we realise she too is damaged in her own way. Teru becomes obsessed by this girl and, when she suddenly leaves town, sets out to find her. He hooks up with the rough-and-ready Sally (Takashi Naito), a breeder of white pigeons who helps him track the girl down. It all comes to the point where Mizue is forced by circumstance to decide whether she wants or needs little Teru in her life. Mori's imagery is none-too-subtle (free birds equals free spirits) and there are times when you'll find Teru adorable, times when you'll want to wring his neck with all his cutesy-pie antics. But in the end it's done with such grace that it'll take a hard heart not to fall under its spell at least for some of the way. The initial feeling is that Hong Kong audiences will lap it all up. The film picked up an award at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival, so there must be at least a few old softies out in the wide world. Laundry opens today at Cine-Art House.