Fantasia Festival: Dreams on Fire
“I want to become a dancer… I will become a dancer.”Yume
Have you ever felt that life was just a series of roadblocks getting in the way of your most cherished dream? For Yume (Bambi Naka), the road to becoming a dancer is littered with obstacles and disappointments. Despite her father’s disapproval, Yume leaves her small town and ventures to Tokyo where she’s determined to make it as a professional dancer. Yume takes a free hip-hop class at a local dance studio and is immediately hooked. To pay for her micro apartment, her expenses and her dance classes, Yume becomes a costume hostess. With her job and other hustles she pursues along the way, the threat of crossing over to sex work and getting away from the dance world lingers. Yume perseveres, taking classes, entering competitions and participating in auditions. With each new venture comes plaguing self-doubt and a heaping dose of bad luck but some new friends are there to give her the emotional boost she needs.
Written and directed by Philippe McKie, Dreams on Fire pulsates with life and sheer joy despite the major hurdles the protagonist faces. Bambi Naka leads this coming-of-age story with passion and grace. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this intense of an emotional bond with a fictional character. This speaks to the brilliant story and its charismatic star. There are plenty of dance numbers, shots of Tokyo streets and extreme angles that showcase the city skyline which add visual delights to this already endearing film. A must watch.
Dreams on Fire had its North American premiere at the 2021 Fantasia Film Festival. Visit the film’s official website for more information.