Three films from or about Japan are coming in Swiss cinemas at the beginning of the new year. I have seen two of them already and I would like to briefly introduce all of them.
The Day The Sun Fell
I had the opportunity to watch the premiere of this film in Zurich. Aya Domenig, born in Japan and raised in Switzerland, presented this documentary about the aftermath of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima already last year at the international film festival in Locarno. She incorporated many interviews with contemporary witnesses, including her own grand parents.
Photo: Limmattaler Zeitung
After the screening there was a short open discussion with the director. She wanted to turn the story of her grand father who cared as a doctor for dozens of radiation patients into a film. After researching the topic extensively and the happenings of 2011 the project transformed into a full feature film. She implied with the film that many households in Japan are still lead in a traditional, patriarchic way and the husbands refuse to make a difference. Most of the appearing persons were not female by coincidence. Domenig also briefly commented on the very latest matter of the nuclear bomb test in North Korea. The possession of radioactive material gives a state the feeling of security, both concerning the use as energy fuel and as method of defense. Even Japan was able to construct a plutonium bomb from reserves in 200 days, she estimates.
The film is running in selected Swiss cinemas.
An – Sweet Red Bean Paste
The Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase wrote another touching film. The plot can be summarized in the following way:
Business is not running well for the Dorayaki baker Sentaro. While his shop has regular customers, those are too less to pay off his debts. One day the elderly woman Tokue visits his shop and offers her assistance. He declines her request at first, but changes his mind when he tries her home-made An. Enraptured from the great taste he hires her and the rumor of the new new and delicious Dorayaki spreads. But the old woman is more than just old and shaky. She concerns a inconvenient truth, that is hardly discussed in Japan.
Remark: Dorayaki is a Japanese sweet consisting of two pancake like Castella slices that sandwich sweetened Azuki (An) beans.
The momentum of the film increases only slowly and takes it time to tell the story of the protagonists. That is how the viewer is even more touched from the tragic circumstances that begin to unfold. I can recommend the film very much.
The film is running in Swiss and German cinemas.
Our Little Sister
I did not have the chance to watch the newest work of Hirokazu Kore-eda, but nevertheless I have high expectations after seeing the family drama Like Father, Like Son. The story is set in Kamakura and is about an unusual family dynamic again. At a funeral of the family father the 13 years old girl Suzu appears that does not have a place to stay anymore. She is adopted by the three bereaved sisters and a new chapter of life begins for all of them.
The film comes into Swiss cinemas in March.
By the way: The Ginmaku film festival is taking place in mid April again in Zurich. Like at the last addition, various Japanese films are shown.