Film4, 18th November, 10.40pm
After making his name with chillers Cure and Pulse, Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa scores another triumph (and a Cannes Jury Prize award) with the recession-inspired family drama, Tokyo Sonata.
When Ryuhei Sasaki (20th-Century Boys’s Teruyuki Kagawa) is made redundant from his job at a large medical equipment company, his family’s humdrum life is put at risk. Unwilling to accept the shame of being unemployed, he keeps his predicament a secret. Instead he leaves home each morning with his briefcase, dressed in his usual suit and tie, where he spends his days searching for work.
Brilliantly performed by the ensemble of actors; with sublime direction and some of Kurosawa’s trademark chills (minus anything remotely supernatural), Tokyo Sonata is a poignant, unsettling look at the grim hopelessness of unemployment and the disintegration of a normal Japanese family.
Tokyo Sonata is also available as a Eureka! DVD, part of the Masters of Cinema series.