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Tokyo Sonata

SDAFF Quarterly Screening Offers New Film by Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Above: "Tokyo Sonata"

Tonight the San Diego Asian Film Foundation presents its Quarterly film screening of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "Tokyo Sonata" at 7:00 pm at the UltraStar Mission Valley Theaters as Hazard Center.

I wanted to quickly highlight this screening of "Tokyo Sonata." I hope the film returns for a longer engagement because it's another fine example of director Kiyoshi Kurosawa's skill and diversity. My initial introduction to Kurosawa was through his unnerving and unconventional horror films that included "Cure," "Pulse," and "Seance." His horror films emphasized mood and character and delivered fresh takes on genre expectations. So when Kurosawa decided to tackle a family drama I fully expected a similar sense of innovation and I was not disappointed.

The story involves a middle class Japanese family that undergoes an upheaval when the father loses his corporate job. The father -- too embarrassed to say anything to his family -- tries to hide his job loss from his family as he seeks new but less substantial work. The film takes a series of unexpected turns and subtly chronicles the changing family dynamics as the characters wish for a different life. Kurosawa fills the film with a sense of tenderness, disappointment, and unexpected humor.

"Tokyo Sonata" is in Japanese with English subtitles. Seek this one out because it may not return for a longer engagement, and even though it is a simple tale, Kurosawa's films are always best on a big screen where you can appreciate his sense of detail.

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