Tokyo Sonata
Tokyo Sonata Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Taking a break from his regular diet of fantasy and horror, Japan's Kiyoshi Kurosawa delivers here a fierce indictment of modern-day Japan.

Kurosawa has often hinted, in earlier pictures, that he smells something rotten in his homeland, and this time he tackles the issue front-on - by the time he has finished, there is precious little hope left.

Obviously representing Japan, the Sasaki family is headed by Ryuhei Sasaki who is sacked from his job as administration chief of a thriving business, to be replaced by a Chinese upstart who is willing to settle for a third of his salary. Married with two sons, and as rigid and straightlaced as the head of a Japanese family can possibly be, he does not admit what has just happened and goes out every day to walk the streets in search of work where he meets others in a similar situation.

If this is comedy, it is a very black, forbidding one, each scene adding insult to the injuries of modern Japanese society. At school they teach good manners but the teacher reads porno mangas; daddy hates lying but does it all the time, as does everyone else around him; a hit-and-run driver is only too happy to leave his victim on the road if no one notices; the Chinese steal jobs and America takes away the kids. There is no glimmer of hope in what seems, but is not, a perfectly organized society.

Kyoko Koizumi's beautifully prim, controlled housewife stands out in a generally excellent cast, supported by polished art direction and accurate, perfectly shot and framed camera work.

Festivals and awards: Cannes (Un Certain Regard - Jury Prize), Toronto, San Sebastian, Helsinki, Hamburg
Links: Homepage, Trailer

Programme: Screen International Critics' Choice

Country: Japan
Year: 2008
Length: 119
Language: Japanese
Producer: Yukie Kito, Wouter Barendrecht
Screenplay: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Sachiko Tanaka
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Cinematography: Akiko Ashizawa
Music: Kazumasa Hashimoto
Editor: Koichi Takahashi

Cast: Teruyuki Kagawa, Kyoko Koizumi, Haruka Igawa, Yu Koyanagi, Kai Inowaki

Producer: Entertainment Farm

Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Kiyoshi Kurosawa (b. 1955, Kobe, Japan) graduated from Rikkyo University with a degree in Sociology. He directed his debut feature, "Kanda-gawa Inran Senso" in 1983. In 1997 Kurosawa's crime thriller "Cure" premiered in Tokyo International Film Festival and later screened at the Yokohama Film Festival where it received the award for Best Director. In 2001 the slow-burn thriller "Pulse" was screened in the Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard section and won the Critics' Prize. Kurosawa returned to Cannes in 2003 with "Bright Future", an existential drama that screened in main competition. Recently in 2006, Kurosawa's "Retribution" was screened out of competition in Venice International Film Festival.

valik/selected: Cure (1997), Kumo no hitomi (1998, Eyes of the Spider), Karisuma (Charisma, 1999), Korei (Seanss, PÖFF 2000), Kairo (Pulse, 2001), Akuru mirai (Bright Future, 2003), Dopperugenga (Doppelgänger, 2003), Ghost Shop (2004), Rofuto (Loft, 2005), Sakebi (Retribution, 2006), Tokyo Sonata (2008)

Saturday, 29. November 18:00
Vene Teater (English subtitles)
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Thursday, 04. December 19:00
Athena Keskus (English subtitles)
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