The neon lights of downtown Tokyo are a world away from the darkness and cold of the Canadian North. But for many people in Japan, the opportunity to see the acid-etched colours of the aurora borealis is a once in a lifetime trip.
With intimate access, the film follows newlyweds Maiko and Hiro, university professor Masami and her teenage son Issei, and tour guide Yoshi, who has fashioned an entire life around the aurora. Each person has their own reasons for undertaking the quest: Job-obsessed Masami is trying to maintain a connection with her son, while Maiko and Hiro are embarking on their new life as a couple. For Yoshi, the aurora is more than a job, “It’s like an addiction,” he says.
Leaving behind the ordinary world of work, chores and school, these different individuals travel to Yellowknife in search of the elusive phenomena. In amongst the tourist expeditions and sight-seeing trips, something more mysterious begins to happen. Be it hope, connection or transcendence — the aurora provides different things to each person. But at its heart is a reawakening to the deepest sense of being alive. The North, in all its silence and expanse, strips away the superficial stuff, revealing more elemental needs and desires.