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Directed by Miwa Nishikawa

Cast: Nakano Taiga, Yakusho Koji

This film is available to view in California only. Limited tickets.

Official Selection, 2020 Toronto International Film Festival

Released from prison for a thirteen-year murder sentence, former yakuza member Mikami Madao (Koji Yakusho) is set on becoming a reformed citizen. Of course, re-adapting into society while branded as a criminal with scarce social support is no easy task. Past middle-age, limited in his skill set, and emotionally volatile from a neglected childhood and years in the yakuza, the odds are stacked against any possibility for redemption. Yet Mikami persists, exhausting every opportunity that he finds (including an exploitative reality tv stunt to find his birth mother) with a lovable clumsiness, made even more endearing by a tour-de-force performance from veteran Yakusho (Shall We Dance, 13 Assassins). With a visible sorrow furrowed deep into the wrinkles on his face, the magnetic Yakusho pulls off an act of brilliant nuance, imparting an enfeebled sense of youthful hope that feels nothing short of magical. 

In her follow-up to The Long Excuse (SDAFF ‘17 Spring Showcase), director Miwa Nishikawa shows once again her incisive eye for the rhythms of everyday life, in each scene striking a balance between the brutality of social and economic life in contemporary Japan and the tenderness found in networks of care. Imbued with an immense empathy and comic sensibility, her latest is an emotionally honest portrait of a life lived and a complex examination of the value in human relationships. 

Justin Nguyen

Co-Presented by: San Diego State University Asian Pacific Student Alliance