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©2004 Quill Film Partners


Original Title
Production Year
Release Date
March 13, 2004
Running Time
Kaoru KOBAYASHI(小林薫)
Kippei SHIINA(椎名桔平)
Teruyuki KAGAWA(香川照之)

Quill, a Labrador retriever settles in with his partner and begins his life as a seeing-eye dog.

"Quill. When I walk with you, I realize what it is to be alive."
- based on a true story -
Quill -a Labrador Retriever-'s life as a "dog" drastically changes when he leaves his mother's side in order to become a "seeing-eye dog". He is taken in by "foster parents" known as puppy-walkers, where he is basked in their love fully and spent his puppy days running around innocently and full of vigor. When he reaches his first birthday, he leaves his foster parents and eventually enters a training center. Little did he know that he would later meet the man who would become his owner ( = partner). The gentle Quill would be teamed up with this man, who first refuses to take a seeing-eye dog. An incident occurs which cause the seemingly completely incompatible man and dog to come to rely on each other, and begin to walk together. This was their first step in becoming "life partners". When he walked with Quill, his partner felt the wind. He could see the sky through Quill. The bond between Quill and his partner, who rediscovers the joy of life, grew deeper with each passing day...Until, one day, they face a sudden and sorrowful parting.... Quill experiences many encounters and farewells in his daily life as a seeing-eye dog. The happier the encounter, the more emotional the departure. In the face of inescapable fate, a person can get hurt, and sometimes shut one's heart. Quill tenderly extends the gift of his unconditional love and trust to the people he met. Quill was born with a curious mark on his side that resembles a bird spreading its wings. Perhaps this was the symbol of the happiness of his user. Directed by Yoichi Sai, whose film "ALL UNDER THE MOON" (Tsuki wa dotchi ni dete iru), won 53 awards, including the Kinema Junpo awards (the most prestigious film award in Japan) for Best Picture and Best Director. His most recent film "DOING TIME" (Keimusho no naka) was also highly praised, receiving number of awards including Best Director Award.Sai's incisive portrayal of characters has earned him a reputation as a prodigal film director. The true story of Quill, comes to life on screen with Sai's rich representation and his way of expression for the meaning of life.
Five Labrador Retrievers are born at a house in Tokyo. One of the puppies is easily identifiable from the rest at first sight. He has a curious pattern on his side that resembles a bird spreading its wings. The owner names him "Jonathan", and wants to make the puppies into seeing-eye dogs like their father. It is normally difficult for a dog to become seeing-eye dogs unless both parents had experience as a "seeing-eye", but as she asks the dog trainer Satoshi Tawada (played by Kippei Shiina), he reluctantly agrees to take only one of them. He chooses the easygoing Jonathan, as fast-reacting, emotionally expressive dogs are not fit to work as seeing-eye dogs. Jonathan barks in protest when he is somewhat forced to leave his mother and his brothers. Tawada takes Jonathan to a new home of volunteer "puppy-walkers" Isamu Nii (Teruyuki Kagawa) and his wife Mitsuko (Shinobu Terashima), to raise the puppy. Tawada leaves them with an instruction not to scold the dog under any circumstance. Jonathan receives the new name of "Quill" after the "bird wings" mark on his side. The mischievous Quill loves to throw Mitsuko's sandals around and rip window screens, but his favorite plaything is a toy bear that squeaks when bitten. Later, Quill goes out on his first walk and soon becomes a town celebrity. Mitsuko explains to Quill everything he comes into contact with, from cherry trees to birds and snakes. These days of merriment pass by in the blink of an eye. Before we know it Quill has reached his first birthday, the last day that he is in the puppy -walkers' care. On this day, during a long walk, Quill sees Mitsuko crying on a park bench and opens his mouth, which seems like an attempt to smile at her. When Quill lifts his arrestingly charming face, it looks like he is smiling. Quill is put on the rear deck of Tawada's car and fades into the distance as it rolls away from the Nii home. As the couple vanishes into the distance, all Quill can do is whimper helplessly. Life at the seeing-eye dog training center begins. Quill exhibits his naivete and his way of doing things at his own pace. As the other dogs steadily advance, learning how to negotiate steps and avoid obstacles, Quill alone is left behind. Could it be that seeing-eye work isn't in his blood? Just as Tawada, trainer of many outstanding seeing-eye dogs, is about to give up, he discovers a unique talent in Quill. When told to wait, Quill will stay calmly in the same spot for hours without moving. Finally, Quill's partner is decided. Mitsuru Watanabe (Kaoru Kobayashi) had always adamantly refused to have a seeing-eye dog, saying he would rather stay in bed than be pulled around by a dog. However, thanks to Tawada's somewhat pushy recommendation and a trial walk with Quill, Watanabe himself requests the dog. Joint training commences at a camp for the vision-impaired and their seeing-eye dogs. The man and the dog have trouble communicating. Watanabe and Quill are not in step and the man even starts using his white walking stick. Then, little by little, Quill starts showing his kindness to Watanabe. One evening during voluntary training, a trivial incident causes Watanabe to open up his heart, and for the first time he starts to walk aided by Quill alone. The dog senses the man's rhythm. Before long, the dog's and man's shadows on the street gradually draw closer. From the day Quill joins the Watanabe household with his wife Yoshiko (Keiko Toda) and their two children, Watanabe's range of activities broadens rapidly. When he goes into town, he experiences the sound of people's voices, the smell of flowers, and the wind's caress. It feels good. Walking with Quill makes him realize how wonderful it is to be alive. Then, one day, they suddenly face a parting that they could not have foreseen...