Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Releases: Tokyo Sonata and The Cake Eaters

The must-see film this weekend is doubtless Tokyo Sonata, Kiyoshi Kurosawa's devastating domestic drama about an out-of-work father who lies to his family about his unemployment in order to maintain an increasingly untenable front as head-of-household. Writing about the film last year at the New York Film Festival, I called it "a thoroughgoing critique of the demands of patriarchy in contemporary Japan" as well as "an affecting family drama". And it certainly is both those things, though in focusing my review primarily on the former aspect, I likely shortchanged the film's striking formal qualities, particularly Kurosawa and cinematographer Akiko Ashizawa's expertly constricting framings and graceful lighting. Also opening this weekend in New York is the considerably less accomplished film The Cake Eaters, Mary Stuart Masterson's directorial debut, which I reviewed for Slant Magazine.

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