Harmonium

Harmonium

Director: Kôji Fukada

2016, Japan, France, 118 minutes

Language: Japanese with English Subtitles

 

Program Notes

With his highly perceptive attention to character, director Kôji Fukada creates an explosive family drama with HARMONIUM (FUCHI NI TATSU). Intended as a companion piece to the black comedy HOSPITALITÉ, HARMONIUM returns to the domestic sphere as it captures the collapse of a seemingly ordinary Japanese family. Life for Toshio (Kanji Furutachi), his wife Akie (Mariko Tsutsui) and their young daughter Hotaru (Momone Shinokawa) carries on as usual until he hires the mysterious Mr. Yasaka (Tadanobu Asano from THOR), an old acquaintance dressed in white who has just been released from prison. HARMONIUM, also starring Taiga from SWEET BEAN as Takashi, captivated critics and audiences alike during the 69th Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize.
 

REVIEWS
 
“The film delivers thriller-like shocks as it delves deep into the nature of guilt and evil. Mariko Tsutsui is a revelation as a woman in the throes of both passion and regret.”
– Mark Schilling, Japan Times
 
“It’s seldom a good sign in the movies when a friend from the past suddenly resurfaces after a years-long absence. So begins Koji Fukada’s return-of-the-repressed family drama, which takes a power drill to your nerves and emotions without ever misplacing its sense of compassion.”-Justin Chang, LA Times
 
“This nuclear family story is actually a nuclear explosion, played out in extreme, minutely observed slow-motion.” –Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
 
“A quietly combustible tale of punishment and crime…Cycles of guilt, blame and vindictiveness are replayed in scenes of scorching emotional power, which elicit gut-wrenching performances from Tsutsui and Furutachi.” – Maggie Lee, Variety
 
“HARMONIUM is probably the most surprising work that we have seen at this stage of Un Certain Regard…Fukada criticizes a culture of silence and repression through powerful motifs (musical,spatial, gestural) that confront his characters with the combustion of long-buried secrets.” –Mathieu Macheret, Le Monde