vermillion horizon

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Always, sunset

Hollywood movies seem to make it to Japan quickly - but Japanese movies are few and far between in the US. That's why, two years after its domestic release, ALWAYS 三丁目の夕日 (Always, Sunset on Third Street) finally held its Chicago premiere a few days ago. This premiere involved no red carpets or flashing cameras - instead it was an informal gathering in the auditorium of Chicago's Japan Information Center, with a DVD version of the movie shown over a projector.

But that doesn't matter - paparazzi or not, this movie was charming! Set in 1958 Tokyo, ALWAYS 三丁目の夕日invites us to share in the daily lives of residents of Third Street. We meet the sweet teenager Roku-chan, who arrives from the countryside to take an apprenticeship with Suzuki Auto... and the eccentric writer, Chagawa, who yearns to be recognized as a serious novelist... and the shy Junnosuke, recently abandoned by his mother. These are just a few of the memorable cast of characters in a movie that hooked me from the very beginning. ALWAYS 三丁目の夕captures the joys and struggles of everyday life, weaving together a variety of experiences into a tight story set against the greater backdrop of Tokyo's coming of age.

With a movie like this, who needs Hollywood?

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