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Tokyo Sonata
Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
(PG-13)

***

After being fired, a father hides his joblessness from his family.

Japan’s master of horror Kiyoshi Kurosawa “effortlessly switches gears” with Tokyo Sonata, said V.A. Musetto in the New York Post. In this “stark social drama,” Ryuhei, a middle-aged salaryman, loses his job but carries on his daily routine in order to keep the shameful truth from his family. He eventually takes a job cleaning toilets at a department store, “a fate that proves fatal to Ryuhei’s pride.” In Kurosawa’s hands, “modern life is more frightening” than any horror film, said Maggie Lee in The Hollywood Reporter. He uses the microcosm of Japanese family life to show the effect that his country’s financial crisis has had on its society as a whole. The film moves along “with the pacing of a thriller,” and Kurosawa packs even the “smallest scenes with dramatic significance.” Even as the family falls to pieces, Kurosawa keeps “his composition in harmonious play,” said Manohla Dargis in The New York Times. Well-crafted and sensitively told, his film should prove to have a “canny and timely resonance” not just in his homeland but everywhere.