TIFF ‘08 Preview: Tokyo Sonata

Kiyoshi Kurosawa is best known for his horror films, such as Cure and Pulse. However, while those films may include ghosts and serial killers, Kurosawa’s horror films have always more cerebral than the hack n’ slash material the genre is usually associated with, using terrors and scares to touch on themes such as modern alienation and the fate of individuals at the whims of dehumanizing societies and technologies.

His latest film, Tokyo Sonata, moves away from the horror genre to look at something potentially even more frightening: the family. In this case, a family on the verge of collapse, with a recently unemployed father who won’t tell his family out of shame, two sons who never talk to their parents anymore, and a mother caught in the middle. Some folks have compared it to Bright Future, calling it a spiritual successor of sorts to Kurosawa’s film about youthful purposelessness, which is more than enough to pique my curiosity.

The film has garnered a fair amount of acclaim, which isn’t unusual for a Kiyoshi Kurosawa film, even going so far as to win the Un Certain Regard jury prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.