Coming up at SDAFF…
ALWAYS – SUNSET ON THIRD STREET
Japan | Japanese | 132 min. | 35mm | Color | 2005
DIRECTOR: Takashi Yamazaki
WRITER: Ryouhei Saigan
CAST: Hidetaka Yoshioka, Shin'ichi Tsutsumi, Maki Horikita
West Coast Premiere
In late 1950's Japan, anything was possible. The country was moving out of the past and into the future. The war was over and the rubble was cleared. Soldiers came home and families were reunited. The rebuilding began, nowhere more spectacularly than in Tokyo where construction of the magnificent Tokyo Tower was underway and houses across the city were acquiring their first washing machines, refrigerators and the most holy of holies–televisions. It was also a time when bad decision-making was rampant: Taking a job in the city that you're not quite sure of; agreeing to adopt a bar tender's kid while you're drunk; inviting someone you've never met to live in your house. It's this intersection between economic progress and emotional misstep where ALWAYS â�� SUNSET ON THIRD STREET makes its home.
Visually lavish, and the winner of 13 of Japan's 14 Academy Awards (including "Best Picture," "Best Director," "Best Screenplay," and "Best Actor"), this film was shot on Toho's soundstages and it uses digital wizardry to resurrect 1950's Tokyo. Everything is meticulously recreated from the spidery superstructure of the Tokyo Tower rising up against the sky to the covers of the pulp sci-fi magazines sold by Mr. Chagawa, who wants to write the Great Japanese Novel. His dreams are no more deluded than those of Mutsuko, a schoolgirl from the countryside who thinks she's taken a job with a thriving car manufacturer only to discover that she's working in a one-garage mechanic's shop. And then there's Hiromi who opens a bar down the street and is saddled with the abandoned child of the nightspot's previous owner.
But pluck and luck abound in this gorgeous period piece that feels like a Frank Capra movie if he'd been a little more cynical and a lot more Japanese. Based on a popular manga, ALWAYS â�� SUNSET ON THIRD STREET is a movie that guarantees you'll cry at the end, but you won't feel cheap about it. This movie is so assured, and so beautifully crafted that you can give in to it on the first date and still respect yourself in the morning.
– From NY Asian Film Festival