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Riverside Mukolitta film image, director Naoko Ogigami

Riverside Mukolitta


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North American Premiere

Naoko Ogigami, director of VIFF 2017 favorite Close-Knit, returns to the festival with a gentle comedy/drama about second chances and the transformative power of friendship.

Riverside Mukolitta stars Kenichi Matsuyama as Yamada, an ex-con trying to come to terms with the death of his estranged father. In an attempt to make a fresh start, Yamada moves to a small fishing town and finds work processing dried squid. Helping him get back on his feet, Yamada’s manager finds him a place to live in an old apartment building populated by a motley group of misfits. Holding this community together is Shiori (Hikari Mitsushima), the landlady harbouring her own tragic past. How can healing happen in such an odd place?

Based on Ogigami’s own 2019 novel, Riverside Mukolitta approaches the topic of mortality with reassuring simplicity and a dry, quirky sense of humor, taking the audience along with Yamada as he discovers that life’s sorrows and burdens are easier to bear with kindred spirits to help you bear them.


Media Partner


Kenichi Matsuyama, Tsuyoshi Muro, Hikari Mitsushima, Noriko Eguchi, Daisuke Kuroda, Toshiaki Chiku

Country of Origin





In Japanese with English subtitles

Film Contact
121 min
Comedy Drama Women Directors

Book Tickets

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Executive Producer

Daiji Horiuchi, Tsuyoshi Goroh, Shinichi Tago, Kazuo Nakanishi, Yumiko Masuda, Nobuo Kameyama, Riki Takeuchi, Junji Igarashi, Takayuki Suzuki, Misaki Kawamura,Osamu Nakanishi, Nobuo Komazawa


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Naoko Ogigami


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Shinichi Fushima

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Art Director

Mayumi Tomita


Naoko Ogigami headshot, Riverside Mukolitta director

Naoko Ogigami

Naoko Ogigami was born in Japan and studied film at the University of Southern California. Her directorial debut, Yoshino’s Barber Shop (2004), received a Special Mention at the Kinderfilmfest at the Berlin International Film Festival. Her fourth film, Glasses (2007), received the Manfred Salzgeber Award, also at the Berlinale. Her 2017 film Close-Knit received awards at different film festivals, including the Teddy Jury Award at the Berlinale. She wrote for the stop-motion animation series Rilakkuma and Kaoru, which premiered on Netflix in 2019.

Filmography: Yoshino’s Barber Shop (2003); Glasses (2007); Rent-a-Cat (2012); Close-Knit (2017)