PRINT March 2009


Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata

Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Tokyo Sonata, 2008, color film in 35 mm, 119 minutes. Production still. Kenji Sasaki (Kai Inowaki).

VENTURING OUTSIDE the paranormal zone that he defined with films such as Cure (1997), Charisma (1999), Pulse (2001), and Doppelganger (2003), Kiyoshi Kurosawa proves himself prescient as ever. Tokyo Sonata (which opens in New York and Los Angeles on March 13) is a visually lyrical, narratively Fassbinderesque examination of a Japanese nuclear family in meltdown due to pressures both external (the downsizing of Japan’s middle-income workforce) and internal (failing codes of masculinity). Kurosawa’s consummate tonal shifts allow the film to move fluidly from analytic realism to hallucinatory subjectivity and back again. Imagine a marriage between The Merchant of Four Seasons and In a Year of 13 Moons.

When his management job is outsourced to China, along with the entire unit he supervised, Ryuhei Sasaki (Teruyuki Kagawa) hides his redundancy from his wife, Megumi (Kyoko Koizumi),

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