Tokyo Sonata is a melancholic dramedy in a class of it’s own. Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa‘s sidestep away from bizarre horror flicks plotted him into a bizarre family drama with dark comedy undertones. It’s bizarre but full of intent and controlling of mood and pace, as is his other works. Tokyo Sonata has a conflict of beauty and tension throughout, as it makes a powerful depiction of Japanese society, culture, identity and family. If you thought your family was dysfunctional or even falling apart, think again.
It doesn’t take long to realize that internal and external conflicts associated with each character / family member act as greater destructive catalysts to the family’s make-up. So the viewer is dealing with both individual and greater whole self-destruction. The film has focus on finding ones true self and the forces that may or may not behind it. It also paints a picture of behaviour (and socioeconomics) in contemporary Japan, for better or worse. The characters and family as a whole are a defined parallel to Japan (seen by the Director and many others) as the businessman-father loses his job, the housewife feels a void, the older son is lost and defiant, and the younger son is trying to find his place (with himself and in the world) as he explores his true desires (or tries to).
“An ordinary Japanese family slowly disintegrates after its patriarch loses his job at a prominent company.” (IMDb)
“This film will portray a very ordinary family in modern Japan. I start from a point where lies, suspicion and a complete breakdown of communication already have established themselves within the family. Without a doubt, this is “modern” and this is also “Japan”. However, I would like to show a glimmer of hope in the end. Can I do that? Even if I could do so, would that be something that saves a conventional family? I just do not know now. Since I do not know, I have a strong desire to make this film.” — Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Director’s Statement)
aparoo’s words: family drama, dark comedy, Japanese society, individual identity, conventionalism
aparoo says 5/5
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