Friday, March 27, 2009

First it was Winter Sonata, now it's Tokyo Sonata

Note the difference, though, Winter Sonata is a TV series whereas Tokyo Sonata is a film. I didn't watch the former, but I'd definitely give a try for the latter.

"Tokyo Sonata" is set in Japan's capital and brim-full of the city's culture, but director Kiyoshi Kurosawa's tale of unemployed misery has also captured the zeitgeist of the US economic crisis.

Visiting Los Angeles to promote the film now rolling out across America, the award-winning Kurosawa said he was just interested in making a film dealing with modern life.

"The theme I am most concerned with right now is what kind of generation the 21st century truly is," he told a roundtable on Thursday.

"Why is it so muddled and confused? Why is it so vastly different from the vision of the future we had in the previous century? Who is responsible for the way things turned out?"

The answer, the 53-year-old conceded, "is difficult to find".

Set in modern-day Tokyo, "Sonata" chronicles the quiet unravelling of an ordinary family of four.

The family's patriarch unexpectedly loses his job, but instead of telling his wife and children, he decides to enter "a lonely sojourn into the world of the secretly unemployed," Kurosawa said.

"I started from a point where lies, suspicion and a complete breakdown of communication already have established themselves within the family," he added.

"Without a doubt, this is 'modern' and this is also 'Japan'."

But the Kobe-born director said he also "would like to show a glimmer of hope in the end. Can I do that? Even if I could do so, would that be something that saves a conventional family?"

He will soon find out how deeply that angst resonates on this side of the Pacific.

The film will open in select theatres starting Friday, hoping to make good on the success of other Japanese cinema.

"Okuribito" (Departures) won the a best foreign film award at this year's Oscars and another Japanese film, "Aruitemo Aruitemo" (Still Walking) has been praised for its exploration of inter-generational tensions.

From Channel NewsAsia, "Japanese flick hits on global unemployment woes".

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