YIFM Young Film Critic Adelaide Kane looks at Dreaming in Between. 

Dreaming in Between is a film by Ryûtarô Ninomiya that follows school vice principal Shuhei Suenaga (Ken Mitsuishi). After receiving some life-changing news, Shuhei is forced to reassess his choices and relationships. His daughter (Haruka Kudo) and wife (Maki Sakai) are both shocked by this new attitude and, treat his emotional shift with distrust and suspicion. It is only a former student of his (Miyu Yoshimoto) who connects with Suenaga and his attempts to regain a semblance of who he used to be.

The theme of isolation is deeply embedded in the visuals and narrative. Ninomiya often shows us stark, wide shots of Suenaga walking alone, eating alone, and failing to engage with his family. As nod to a potential future for Suenaga, his father is also also depicted as a solitary figure, isolated in his nursing home. Despite this, Suenaga finds small moments of connection with his students, engaging in a warm repertoire that reveals an underlying trust. He exchanges conversation pleasantly with his co-workers and acquaintances. Yet, as he embarks on his journey of self discovery, Suenaga reconnects with his old friend, Keiji Ishida (Yutaka Matsuhige), and the pair fall into comfortable old patterns despite the years apart.

The warmth of these interactions emphasises Suenaga’s loneliness in those he should be closest to. His arc sees him realise too late that his cost of his actions, and directionless and lonely, he reaches a crossroads.  This is where Dreaming in Between serves as a warning. The patriarchal systems at play mean that a man working too much to “provide” is often left without a family to provide for.

Dreaming In Between screened at Cork International Film Festival 2023 and is available to stream online now. The Young Critics programme is run by Young Irish Film Makers in partnership with the festival. Visit YIFM.com for more information about this training programme. 


Gemma Creagh is a writer, filmmaker and journalist. In 2014 she graduated with a First from NUIG’s MA Writing programme. Gemma’s play Spoiling Sunset was staged in Galway as part of the Jerome Hynes One Act Play series in 2014. Gemma was one of eight playwrights selected for AboutFACE’s 2021 Transatlantic Tales and is presently developing a play with the Axis Theatre and with the support of the Arts Council. She has been commissioned to submit a play by Voyeur Theatre to potentially be performed in Summer 2023 as part of the local arts festival. Gemma was the writer and co-producer of the five-part comedy Rental Boys for RTÉ’s Storyland. She has gone on to write, direct and produce shorts which screened at festivals around the world. She was commissioned to direct the short film, After You, by Filmbase and TBCT. Gemma has penned articles for magazines, industry websites and national newspapers, she’s the assistant editor for Film Ireland and she contributes reviews to RTE Radio One’s Arena on occasion.

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