While (…) [the] narrative lacks some (…) provocative punch (…) the political protest message (…) is [nevertheless] sincerely felt.
From time to time, ominous signs underline the various problems the Japanese society has to cope with. Men aren’t showing interest in relationships with women – the opposite is equally true – and the ongoing low birthrate that is produced thereby made 2017 the first year in which the Japanese population actually shrunk. On a more deeper societal level, sexual harassment is still prevalent, with one third of the woman reporting some form of sexual harassment in 2016.
“[An] endearing and heartwarming exploration of the complexity of family relations (…) that shows (…) that happiness is to be found in the very daily problems family life indisputably generates. We’re already hoping for another sequel.”
While Yōji Yamada might not ring the same way in the ear as the great powerhouses, e.g. Shohei Imamura, Kon Ichikawa, Akira Kurosawa, …etc., of Japanese cinematography, he should still be considered as a minor monument of Japanese cinema. He is, for instance, the director of the legendary and highly entertaining Otoko wa Tsurai yo comedy series (general note 1), which follows the adventures of Tora-san and his endless quests to win a woman’s heart. More recently, he directed the critically acclaimed trilogy of samurai movies, i.e. The Twilight Samurai (2002), The Hidden Blade (2004) and Love and Honor (2006).