Tokyo Sonata

  • 119'
  • Japan
  • 2008
Kurosawa Kiyoshi is the cult master of unusual and even terrifying films. This time, however, he wants to be the teller of an ordinary story. Dark powers are left out. The film focuses on a family who want to look as ordinary as possible. Any minor deviation is meticulously hidden. When the father of the family, Sasaki Ryuhei (a beautiful role by a perfectly tired-looking Kagawa Teruyuki), is suddenly sacked because of globalisation effects, he keeps this secret. Everyday he pretends to go to work and hopes for a miracle. And he is not the only one to be unlucky. He even makes new friends who also hide their shame.
The power of the film is in the perfect telling of this fateful story. And in the occasionally phenomenal acting achievements. The actress Koizumi Kyoko is very impressive as the housewife Megumi, who organises her family with an iron discipline. Megami also maintains the façade intact when she happens to see her husband at a soup kitchen. The chain of mutual lies leads to a dramatic time bomb in the family. The two adolescent sons go their own way completely oblivious, eventually causing the domestic drama to get out of hand.
And Kurosawa could not maintain the façade of being just plain ordinary. Off-screen, a greater threat is tangible. Like approaching thunder. (GjZ)

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Kurosawa Kiyoshi
Countries of production
Japan, Netherlands, Hong Kong
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 2009
Yukie Kito, Wouter Barendrecht
Production Companies
Entertainment Farm, Fortissimo Films
Fortissimo Films
Kurosawa Kiyoshi, Max Mannix, Tanaka Sachiko
Ashizawa Akiko
Takahashi Koichi
Production Design
Maruo Tomoyuki, Matsumoto Tomoe
Sound Design
Iwakura Masayuki
Hashimoto Kazumasa
Yakusho Kôji, Tsuda Kanji
Local Distributor
A-Film Distribution