Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who began making low-budget features in the 1980s, is best known for his horror movies. His latest film, Tokyo Sonata, is something of a departure. It attempts to deal with the social and psychological impact of mass unemployment on a white-collar worker and his family. The movie is set against the ongoing destruction of Japan’s so-called “lifetime employment” system, the imposition of casualised working conditions, and growing social inequality.
Tokyo Sonata tells a typical story of these economically uncertain times: A middle-age salaryman, Ryuhei Sasaki, loses his job, but doesn’t tell his wife, Megumi or two sons — sixth-grader Kenta and college student Taka. Instead, he tries to keep up appearances, leaving home each morning dressed in a suit and tie and carrying a briefcase, but spending his days searching fruitlessly for work, killing time in a public library or lining up for a free lunch with the homeless and the other unemployed.
• DVD Discussion
• Making-of Documentary
• Premiere, Tokyo, September 2008
• Q & A, Tokyo, September 2008
• UK Trailer