Yoko (played by the former leading member of the idol girl group AKB48, Atsuko Maeda) is the reporter for a television travel program who visits Uzbekistan with her television crew to make an episode for the program. She dreams of becoming a singer. The film contrasts Yoko’s upbeat on-camera persona with her internal conflicts when she is on her own.
The film consists of a series of episodes in which Yoko wades into a lake to describe looking for a possibly mythical Uzbeki fish; proclaims the delicious crunchiness of under-cooked rice in a bowl of plov, a local dish; repeatedly takes nausea-inducing turns on a fun-park pendulum ride until her camera crew can get enough B‑camera footage of her face; and tries to liberate a goat in captivity named Okoo only to learn that if she does, it will be eaten by wild dogs.
She and the crew visit Samarkand and Tashkent; in the latter, she sings the classic Édith Piaf anthem, Hymne à l’amour (with Japanese lyrics], in a fantasy sequence set at the Navoi Theatre which (as noted below) had been built after the war by Japanese POWs. During a visit to the bazaar, she wanders off with a hand-held camera and starts videotaping in a restricted area. She runs away from the police, who eventually apprehend her but treat her kindly, especially when she learns that her firefighter boyfriend may have been involved in a massive oil refinery fire in Tokyo Bay, where he was stationed. (The boyfriend is never actually seen or heard; all the audience learns about him comes from texts he exchanges with Yoko.)
In a finale set in the mountains, her crew once again in pursuit of a likely mythical beast, she again sings Hymne à l’amour as she imagines that she has caught sight of Okoo running free in the distance.
Tabi no Owari Sekai no Hajimari (旅のおわり世界のはじまり)
UZ 2019, 120 Min. japanisch, usbekische OmU
Regie: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Kamera: Akiko Ashizawa
Schnitt: Koichi Takahashi
mit: Atsuko Maeda, Shota Sometani, Tokio Emoto, Adiz Rajabov, Ryo Kase