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Born Lucky Studios

a boutique video production and post-production studio

Tokyo Sonata

Kiyoshi Kurosawa is one of my favorite directors. His films tend towards horror or supernatural, but not horror of the American cinema, but more of dread or sadness.

His cinema lends itself to the dread and horror of the last couple of years. The story revolves around a husband/father who has been laid off, but doesn’t tell his family. He continues to go to ‘work’ everyday, though in this case his ‘workplace’ is either the unemployment line or a desolate park where other unemployed men gather.

His home life is rather strained. His wife is aloof. His oldest son is enlisting in the U.S. Military. His youngest son is too smart for his own good. Each of these characters are searching for fulfillment.

The film is about finding your way. Its marvelous, but it’s not for casual film watchers. (Think William Faulkner, not Ernest Hemingway, both great writers, just one takes more concentration than the other.)

One last thing, there are two perfect shots in the film. Kurosawa’s gift is mise-en-scene. He does it so subtly, that by the time the two scenes happen, we’re both prepared and unprepared. The clues are in his setups. How many shots start the same way, look the same way, so that when the surprises come, we’ve been waiting for a payoff we didn’t know was coming.

Again, these two scenes are perfect.

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