Blank 13 is a Japanese film directed by Takumi Saitoh that was screened at the 2018 Hawaii International Film Festival. The film was presented in Japanese with English subtitles. Blank 13 is a shorter film, with a duration of 70 minutes.
Blank 13 is about a deadbeat father with a gambling problem who walked out on his own two sons and wife for 13 years. They later reconnected when they found out he was ill with stomach cancer. With only a few months to live, Masato was visited by his younger son in the hospital. While holding onto precious memories of him playing baseball with his father he tries to remember the positive influence his father had on him.
His younger son always wanted to play baseball and his dream was to play in the big stadium. Not long into the film, Masato passed away. Majority of the film was focused on his funeral. I feel like the funeral was a way for his two sons to learn who their father was and what he was doing during the 13 years that he left them. They met all these people at his funeral that seemed to know more about their father than they everdid. From drinking partners, roommates, karaoke friends, Mahjong players and even Japanese magicians; they each took turns talking about Masato and their memories they had with them. I felt wretched for his sons because they were listening to all these funny and great memories they had with their father while he was not in their life. One person shared how he would offer them money even when he had none because he always wanted to help. I could see the sadness in his son’s eyes; and them wishing they knew their dad like how these strangers, knew him.
After the film, director Takumi Saitoh joined us for questions. He was accompanied by a translator and he was able to answer questions from the audience.