a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Ending Note / エンディングノート

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Director Mami Sunada’s first outing with the feature documentary Ending Note shows her following her father, Tomoaki Sunada’s final days. Diagnosed with terminal cancer at 67, soon after his retirement from 40 years on the same job, his daughter’s camera caught his decline and subsequent passing. Traversing the difficult and tricky slope of such a personal story is aced with a cool and gentle style and vision. What could have ended up maudlin and self-indulgent turns into an honorable and touching tribute to a very average, but good guy. Mami Sunada learned her craft as an acolyte of Hirokazu Kore-eda (who served as producer for Ending Note).  She learned well from him. With an objective, yet passionate eye, she goes places deep and profound. The hero of the story, her father, certainly helps by leavening the journey with a healthy sense of humor and facing his end with a very brave face. Ending Note shows Tomoki Sunada becoming an archetype of a Japanese salaryman while maintaining his very personal humanity and grace until the end.

Originally published in EL Magazine, October 2011.

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Written by Nicholas Vroman

October 4, 2011 at 12:59 pm

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