Directed by: Mike Ott
English/Japanese with English subtitles
En route from Japan to San Francisco, siblings Atsuko (Atsuko Okatsuka) and Rintaro (Rintaro Sawamoto) are temporarily stranded when their car breaks down in Littlerock, a small town just outside Los Angeles. Although Atsuko speaks no English and Rintaro knows just enough to get by, they befriend Cory (Cory Zacharia), a local. Affable and a little spacey, Cory makes a great effort, endearing himself to Atsuko—although she’s more attracted to one of his friends. When their car is back up and running, Atsuko elects to stay behind rather than to travel on with Rintaro. However, as she spends more time in Littlerock, she discovers just how divergent the culture is from her own and how its people perceive her as a foreigner.
In LITTLEROCK, people tend to talk incessantly (particularly Cory), but they rarely comprehend each other. A language barrier literally limits Atsuko’s ability to communicate whereas Cory often either tells people what they want to hear or simply refuses to acknowledge what’s being said to him. In his second feature, writer/director Mike Ott presents a modern America in which both natives and foreigners are essential cultural components. Gorgeously filmed with an eye toward the town’s expansive surroundings, LITTLEROCK makes it easy to see why Atsuko is drawn to the place. At the film’s conclusion, we discover the primary reason that she and her brother came to California. With it, the film’s subtext about being an outsider resounds with newfound power and significance