Japannual Japanese Film Festival 2020
Masa Asanishi, Kanako Nishi
Takumi Kitamura, Nana Komatsu, Ryo Yoshizawa
Shochiku Co., Ltd.
As a young adult, Kaoru (Takumi Kitamura, TREMBLE ALL YOU WANT) returns home after a long absence. He is welcomed by his father (Masatoshi Nagase, MYSTERY TRAIN, SUICIDE CLUB), his mother (Shinobu Terajima, DARE TO STOP US) and his sister Miki (Nana Komatsu, BAKUMAN), but most of all he seems to be happy to be reunited with Sakura, the family dog. Gentle yet strong, sweet yet mischievous, she has been a significant part of their lives in the 12 years since they adopted her as an adorable puppy. Kaoru remembers this during his stay with his parents; he also thinks about his older brother Hajime (Ryo Yoshizawa, BLEACH), who was a star baseball player in school, but whose life was turned upside down by a curveball of fate…
Adapted from the novel of the same name by Kanako Nishi, SAKURA is a charming family chronicle with a nostalgic flavour, where the current narrative is regularly punctuated by flashbacks illustrating the childhood and adolescence of Kaoru, Miki, and Hajime, revealing their first relationships. The film is directed with great tenderness and sensitivity by Hitoshi Yazaki (AFTERNOON BREEZES, MARCH COMES IN LIKE A LION), and includes touches of humour, such as when the mother explains sexuality to her daughter. Expect to shed a few tears during the more melodramatic passages as well. Inevitably, Sakura's presence, even in the background, is a reassuring constant, which anyone who has ever owned a dog will understand. Through laughter and tears, love and anger, man's best friend is always there to comfort us. Translation: Rupert Bottenberg
The legendary Koji Yakusho delivers one of his most moving performances in this repentant yakuza drama by Miwa Nishikawa.
A masterful film with a phenomenal actress, using the codes of the boxing drama to deliver a moving, powerful and hopeful work.
Kin Long Chan
Petty crook Kwan must decide where his loyalties and fortune lie. Drama, suspense, humour and action in the neon-soaked underbelly of Hong Kong.