|Izumi Ashikawa and Tatsuya Mihashi|
Almost all movies - and stories, for that matter - rely on conflicts. Conflicts between a man and a woman. Conflicts between civilization and nature. Conflicts between love and hate. Between courage and weakness, old and new, mighty and poor etc. These conflicts casually employ archetypes of many sorts, to reorient audience to the familiar path of narrative development. It helps to pose ethical theme, metaphysical theme, something meaningful without going into complex discourse of human interaction. One of the most popular device of conflict is that of generations. Teenagers look and act like bubble-headed egoists with a lot of knowledge about modern-day practicalities, while the older parents are stubborn pieces of exhausted mental capacities with a lot of knowledge about bygone day's impracticalities. And reconciliation at the end is the must. At the beginning of Fusen (Japanese for Balloon), it looks like another melodramatic tale of this sort of generation gap. A reserved, serious and gentle father, Haruki (Masayuki Mori) and his wayward, nihilistic son, Keikichi (Tatsuya Mihashi). But as the story unfolds, we realize it is not about generation, it is about empathy.