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Sawako Decides

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Sawako Decides

(Kawa no soko kara konnichi wa)

Canadian Premiere

  • Japan 2010
  • 112 min
  • 35mm
  • Japanese with English subtitles
Official Selection, Berlin International Film Festival 2010
Official Selection, New York Asian Film Festival 2010
Official Selection, Hong Kong International Film Festival 2010

Genre

DramaComedy

Screening Times

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“Wry humor and racy storytelling” — Maggie Lee, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Credits

Director: Yuya Ishii
Screenplay: Yuya Ishii
Cast: Hikari Mitsushima, Masashi Endo, Kira Aihara, Kotaro Shiga, Ryo Iwamatsu
Producers: Mayumi Amano
Print Source: Pia Film Festival

Hockey

Description

“It can’t be helped.” That’s the personal motto of Sawako, a 23-year-old Tokyo woman who’s been through five jobs and five boyfriends in as many years living in the metropolis. Neither her present job nor her present boyfriend afford her the slightest excitement. Sawako is drowning in complete apathy, drinking constantly and resigned to leading a life devoid of dreams and ambition. Her life is going nowhere and sad news has just hit home. Her father is gravely ill and she must leave the city to take over his ailing business, a fresh-water oyster treatment establishment. Her boyfriend Kenichi, designer of history’s most pathetic toy, decides to tag along with his daughter, Kayoko. Once she arrives, Sawako is confronted with a past her selective memory had seemingly decided to erase, and the small country town’s villagers don’t intend to make her life any easier. The family business is capsizing and she must do something about it. And for that to occur, she’ll have to finally get her rear in gear.

A genuine call for self-acceptance, amusingly melodious and sensitive to the working class, SAWAKO DECIDES is the perfect remedy for freefloating malaise and moping. Leading the proceedings is the talented Hikari Mitsushima (Best Actress, Fantasia 2009, for LOVE EXPOSURE), also at Fantasia this year in RINCO’S RESTAURANT. Constantly re-affirming her place as one of the most promising young actresses in contemporary Asian cinema, her girl-next-door looks coupled with her versatility and enchanting magnetism help her transcend every role she takes on. Here, she plays the intensely funny, neurotic but endearing Sawako, eloquently illustrating all the stages of her transformation. Joining her, Masashi Endo (WILD ZERO) shines as the spineless loser Kenichi and little Kira Aihara is the cutest thing you’ll see all year. After several self-produced films praised in the festival circuit, writer/director Yuya Ishii delivers an inspired first commercial feature filled with brilliant dialogue, breathtaking images of rural Japan and an eclectic soundtrack ranging from jazz to tango. Preoccupied with universal social issues such as the environment, urban alienation and the denigration of agricultural communities, SAWAKO DECIDES might paradoxically be called a grim feelgood movie. Like ADRIFT IN TOKYO it avoids the easy, happy resolution but nonetheless leaves you with a light heart and warm recollections of its unforgettable characters.

—Nicolas Archambault (translated by Guillaume Desbiens)

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