Hot tickets: a Japanese lens on uncertain times
One word that certainly strikes fear in the heart of anyone reading the newspapers these days is “unprecedented.” An economic crisis of the magnitude of the one we’re facing down is “unprecedented” or, at least, “hasn’t been seen since the depression.” At the same time, a small group of economists, bloggers and journals do have a precedent for our current economic woes: Japan. After experiencing model growth through the 60s, 70s and 80s, Japan’s economy tumbled precipitously, and hasn’t recovered since.
One casualty of Japan’s economic decline was the salaryman, the average joe white collar working stiff, who, after being laid off would continue to kiss his wife and kids goodbye each day, and then go and sit in a park with those in a similar situation. In Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata, it’s this sort of predicament–played out in the life of a man named Ryhuei–that serves as a jumping off point for a much larger examination of the ramifications of such catacylsmic economic shift through the experiences of one family.
“It may seem incongruous for a filmmaker best known for his horror efforts to give us a drama as humane–and funny–as Toyko Sonata; then again, horror and humor are both exercises in tension, and Kurosawa demonstrates his understanding of that with true skill here,” writes James Rocchi in his Cinematical review from Cannes.
In it’s sensitive portrayal of a much more tangible horror than bogeymen or rampaging serial killers, Tokyo Sonata is a must-see in these uncertain times.
Tickets for Tokyo Sonata are still avaliable: