SATOSHI: A MOVE FOR TOMORROW / SANTOSHI'S YOUTH (LIT.) (SATOSHI NO SEISHUN). Viewed at CineMatsuri 2017. Cinematography = six (6) stars; subtitles/translations = five (5) stars. To follow, understand, and, perhaps, enjoy the film, viewers need at least a casual interest in and rudimentary knowledge of this chess-like game. Otherwise it's a fast trip to boredom city! Shogi is pretty much unknown in the West, but a big deal in Japan where major cities host players in special buildings, and tournaments (lasting 12 hours or more) are carried live on TV. The game uses flat-tile "chess pieces" that are whacked down on a board by two players sitting on their knees on the floor (with the board between them). Important matches are held in empty rooms except for formally attired contestants and a referee/timer. Director Yoshitaka Mori's biographical film portrays the short life of Shogi legend Satoshi Murayama who died almost 20 years ago at the age of 29. This is a "zero-to hero" story of an underdog in the ever popular Japanese "gaman" film genre (where protagonists persevere despite seemingly overwhelming odds and achieve a tear-wrenching triumph). Sickly since birth, Satoshi takes up Shogi early in life during one of many hospital stays, eventually turns pro, and wins a top title despite suffering many illnesses including terminal cancer. In short, Satoshi beats the game, but the game kills him (or at least helps to shorten his life). Mori seems to be using the lack of time as a unifying factor: game-play moves are timed and time always seems to be rapidly running out; Satoshi knows his lifetime is also rapidly running out. Since there is little (if any) drama to be seen during game play (aside from whacking, fan flapping, and guarded facial expressions--sometimes with nose bleeds), the Director looks to Satoshi's private life which, not surprisingly, lacks much in the way of unexpected drama for a chronically ill, handicapped person. Except for scenes where after a crucial match, Satoshi surprises his defeated opponent (whom he will play against again) by inviting him to dinner where they discover they are kindred spirits with similar fears and passions about the game. Mori does not explain much about how Shogi is played (which would, of course, be superfluous for Japanese audiences, but is badly needed for Western viewers), and could have taken a different approach so as to allow both the Shogi knowledgeable and clueless to enjoy his film. Cinematography/ projection (wide screen, DCP, color) is okay, but seems to overdo head shots of players and skimp on showing body language in full profile. Subtitles appear to be adequate, but signs, postings, and other text are usually not translated. Not especially recommended. WILLIAM FLANIGAN, PhD.