Tokyo Sonata, a great, depressing film about Japanese family life


I just came back from a screening of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s new movie, Tokyo Sonata. It’s a two-hour drama about a middle-class Japanese family of four. Their stories unravel after the father loses his job and doesn’t tell anyone. Kurosawa is most famous as a horror film director (Pulse, Cure) but he said when introducing Tokyo Sonata at the SFIAAFF screening today that this look at some harsh realities of Japanese family life might just be scarier. I have to agree with him. The awkwardness between husband and wife, mother and son; the inability to speak out against an unreasonable, abusive father; the shame that prevents family members from telling each other the truth; these things ARE really frightening. And Kurosawa uses horror film-like cuts and lighting in several scenes that make it feel even scarier. It works. The movie is great, and will be showing in SF area theaters starting later this month. It’s also showing tomorrow night @ 6PM at Berkeley’s Pacific Film Archive.

5 thoughts on “Tokyo Sonata, a great, depressing film about Japanese family life

  1. saw this film earlier in japan, indeed does a great job in capturing the scary realities of japan’s current economy combined with how a typical japanese family works.