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(aka "Fuchi ni tatsu" )

 

directed by KŰji Fukada
Japan/France 2016

 

When childhood friend Yasaka (Tadanobu Asano, 47 RONIN) turns up out of the blue after serving a prison sentance for murder, Toshio (Kanji Furutachi, AFTER THE STORM) hires him to work in his machine shop while concealing the details of their friendship (and his part in the crime for which Yasaka was imprisoned) a secret from wife Akiť (Mariko Tsutsui, ANTIPORNO) and young daughter Hotaru (Momone Shinokawa). After some initial awkwardness about the stranger working in her husband's shop and sleeping in her sewing room, devout Protestant Akiť warms to the reformed criminal who confesses his wrongs and the indebtedness that he feels to the family of his victim, and starts to become attracted to him. Yasaka also befriends Hotaru, helping her prepare for her public recital on the harmonium. Toshio, on the other hand, becomes more ill-at-ease, worrying that Yasaka may be coveting what he has and resenting him for having it. Yasaka soon disappears from their lives after a tragic event that irrevocably alters their lives, even if it does - as Toshio admits late in the film - make them act more like a family than before. After eight fruitless years of searching for Yasaka - "only eight years" to Toshio and "it's been eight years" to Akiť - Toshio's new apprentice Takashi (Taiga, PANDEMIC) unknowingly provides them with a both a lead to Yasaka's whereabouts as well as bait to catch him. A studied meditation on the inner devastation of violence that is in some ways the flipside of director KŰji Fukada's earlier comedy of manners HOSPITALIT…, HARMONIUM is somewhat unevenly paced - you feel every minute of the first ninety minutes only for things to pick up in the last half-hour so that one cannot look away from the screen - but manages to get under the viewers skin in the most roundabout ways. A benign conversation between Akiť and Takashi about the last years of his terminally ill mother's care starts to make one wonder if by fate or manipulation, he may be there to finish what Yasaka started. Guilt and willful blindness on the part of characters in the first half of the film gives way to resentment and the belief that they or others - in the case of Toshio - are being punished with either little regard to the innocent or the belief that they are guilty by association (mirroring Toshio's own dismissal of his role in the offscreen inciting act of violence).

Eric Cotenas

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Theatrical Release: 16 June 2017 (USA)

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DVD Review: Film Movement - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Also available on Masters of Cinema Blu-ray in the UK

 

Distribution

Film Movement

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:59:44
Video

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.82 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1; Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Film Movement

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
� Interview with star Kanji Furutachi (16:9; 32:47)
� Short film 'Birds' (7:38)
� Trailers

DVD Release Date: November 14th, 2017
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Film Movement's dual-layer, progressive, anamorphic widescreen encode looks deliberately soft and subdued for the most part, but better compression might have aided some of the low light scenes (particularly one bit hand-held running shot in which noise wars with the encoding). The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is subdued with only intermittent atmosphere and scoring in the surrounds. The optional English subtitles are without any noticeable errors. Besides the trailer, previews, and a short film, the disc also includes an interview with actor Furutachi at the New York Asian Film Festival in which he discusses how director Fukada joined his drama group at school to learn how to direct actors.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Also available on Masters of Cinema Blu-ray in the UK

 

Distribution

Film Movement

Region 1 - NTSC

 




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