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Wednesday, February 11, 2009
PIFF film # 6 - Tokyo Sonata
Downsizing and having your job shipped overseas: two phenomenons not entirely exclusive to wage slaves in the United States. When Japanese salary man Ryûhei Sasaki discovers that his job has just been shipped to China, the lives of both him and his family slowly begin to untangle.
This film from director Kiyoshi Kurosawa follows Ryûhei as he struggles to keep up appearances and as he spends his work days hiding out in bookshops with others like him. While his family remains oblivious, he whiles away his days with another unemployed manager who sets his cell phone to automatically ring five times an hour just to make him feel like he's keeping busy.
The film is both a serious drama and a bleak satire of corporate culture in Japan. The crowd I saw it with didn't quite know what to make of it, laughing awkwardly at various points throughout the movie, especially during the final twenty minutes.