A film by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
1st September; 5.45pm
Perks Mini Theater
"Tokyo Sonata," opens on a note of routine, of a family so locked into their lives that they scarcely know one another. Ryuhei is a salaryman in a management job. His wife, Megumi, is a source of predictable domesticity, centering on cleaning, sewing and the preparation of meals. His older son, Takashi, and younger son, Kenji, are filled with unhappiness but seemingly well-disciplined. Ryuhei loses his job, joins hopeless queues at an employment office.
What we seem to have are the outlines of a traditional family drama, in which tensions are bottled up, revelations will occur and a crisis will result in either tragedy or resolution. But that's not what we're given by director Kiyoshi Kurosawa. It simply shows how lives torn apart by financial emergencies can be revealed as being damaged all along. Unemployment is the catalyst -- an unspoken reality that makes everyone in the family angrier than they already are. All of the performances have perfect pitch.
A sonata is a classical form in which two musical ideas are intercut. In the beginning, they are introduced. In the following sections, they are developed in passages revealing the secrets or potentials of both. The conclusion does not resolve them; instead, we return to look at them, knowing what we know now.
The "themes" in this movie are the father and his family. At the end, they feel the same tensions as at the beginning, but the facade has been destroyed, and they will have to proceed unprotected. (Excerpts from Roger Ebert’s review)
Kiyoshi Kurosawa was born in Kobe on July 19, 1955, (He is not related to director Akira Kurosawa). After studying at Rikkyo University in Tokyo under the guide of prominent film critic Shigehiko Hasumi,where he began making 8mm films, Kurosawa began directing commercially in the 1980s, working on pink films and low-budget V-Cinema (direct-to-video) productions such as formula yakuza films.
In the early 1990s, Kurosawa won a scholarship to the Sundance Institute and was able to study filmmaking in the United States, although he had been directing for nearly ten years professionally.
Kurosawa first achieved international acclaim with his 1997 crime thriller film Cure. This was followed by two thrillers back-to-back, Serpent's Path and Eyes of the Spider. His other films Charisma, Pulse, Bright Future , Doppelganger, Loft and Retribution followed.. With his 2008 film, Tokyo Sonata, Kurosawa was considered to step out of his usual horror genre and into family drama.
He has written a novelization of his own film Pulse, as well as a history of horror cinema with Makoto Shinozaki.