The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival has given SLO Review the opportunity to review some of the narrative and documentary feature films on its 2024 program schedule. Follow the links to purchase tickets to see these notable films for yourself.

An International Film of Self-Discovery

Hideki is a man that can’t quite find his place in the world. He is a middle-management executive for a financial company in Japan. He has had minor success at his job and has had a long-term relationship to which he can’t fully commit.

Hideki is the main character in Tokyo Cowboy, directed by Marc Marriott and part of the narrative feature program at this year’s SLO International Film Festival that promises a powerful exploration into the human experience.

In an effort to impress his bosses (including his fiancée who is his supervisor), Hideki heads to Montana convinced he can turn a profitless U.S. cattle ranch into a premiere-performing asset. The communication divide, both professionally and personally, between Hideki and the ranch workers becomes immediately apparent as he struggles to navigate this new world.

Once Hideki realizes he needs to understand the background of the situation and the ranchers, he does his best to fit in and learn both the American ranching culture and the English language.

Fitting in and finding his place isn’t without its funny challenges. For instance, he tries to learn to ride a horse and the first thing he does is end up in the mud. The friendly ranch hand who used to be a rodeo star loans Hideki a formal rodeo outfit in which he looks ridiculous. And, the locals tease him about his clothing.

After getting to know the crew and being asked about his plans in Japan and in the U.S., he discovers he has more in common with the ranchers than he realized. He also realizes that he can combine what he knows about financing with expertise from the locals to make a better team.

His journey of self-discovery also includes discovering that he hasn’t taken into account what his fiancée wants and decides to do better.

Written by Dave Boyle and Akaya Fujitani, this is truly an international film. The first part is set in Japan with English subtitles. Then it takes place in Montana and combines speaking in both Japanese and English.

Tokyo Cowboy is well worth the two hours that you spend watching.

:: Cindy Blankenburg

The screening of Tokyo Cowboy (run time 118 minutes) at the SLO International Film Festival is sponsored by Hyde Park Partners.