a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Haru to no Tabi / 春との旅 / Haru’s Journey

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The beautiful and moving performance of legendary actor Tatsuya Nakadai alone makes Haru to no Tabi worth the price of admission. The tics, the roving and always spot-on glances, the heavy and difficult walk of an unreconciled old man push this touching road movie to sublime moments and heartfelt reflection on being old in an unforgiving contemporary Japan. Haru to no Tabi opens with an angry Tadao (Nakadai) storming out of his beachfront shack in Hokkaido, his frightened granddaughter, Haru (Eri Tokunaga) following. Their uneasy relationship softens and grows as they go south, visiting his various brothers and sisters and ultimately, Haru’s father, who had long abandoned her. Director Masahiro Kobayashi slowly lays out the subtle dynamics of family relationships and develops a critique of how the social forces of contemporary Japan influence them. More consciously commercial that Kobayashi’s earlier films, Haru to no Tabi, makes no concession to the marketplace other than the casting of some of the greatest actors to inhabit Japanese cinema, Teruyuki Kagawa (Tokyo Sonata) and Kin Sugai (The Funeral) among them.

Originally published in EL Magazine, May 2010

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Written by Nicholas Vroman

April 26, 2010 at 5:50 pm

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