Moon and Thunder

Kawase Naomi’s An (あん)

Kawase Naomi’s An (あん)

[ Directed by ]
[ Produced by ]
• FUKUSHIMA Koichiro
• SAWADA Masamichi
• OYAMA Yoshihito
[ Cast ]
• KIKI Kirin Tokue
• NAGASE Masatoshi Sentaro
• UCHIDA Kyara Wakana
[ Staff ]
• Original Story: Dorian SUKEGAWA
• Screenplay: KAWASE Naomi
• Cinematography: AKIYAMA Shigeki
• Sound Recording: MORI Eiji
• Editor: Tina BAZ
• Lighting: OTA Yasuhiro
• Production Design: HEYA Kyoko
• Sound Designer: Roman DYMNY
• Sound Mixer: Oliver GOINARD
[ Production Company ]
[ Distributor (Japan) ]
Elephant House
[ Production Studio ]

Release Date: May 30, 2015
Running Time: 113 min
Genre: Drama, Feature
Color: Color
Screening Format: DCP,Blu-ray,DVD
Screening Format with Subtitles
・English (DCP,Blu-ray,DVD)

[ Story ]
The film adaptation of the identically titled Dorian Sukegawa novel by previous Cannes Film Festival award recipient, Kawase Naomi. Kiki Kirin exudes a compelling presence as a coarse sweet red bean paste artisan, while her first co-starring role with her real-life grandchild, Uchida Kyara is also worthy of attention.
Sentaro (Nagase Masatoshi), the manager of a shop selling dorayaki (a sandwich of two small pancakes with a filling of sweetened bean paste) has entrusted the making of the coarse red bean paste to Tokue (Kiki Kirin), who answered a help wanted advertisement. The incredibly delicious flavor boosts the store’s business, but an unkind rumor causes Tokue to go away.
[ Official Site ]
[ Film Festivals, Awards ]
• 2015 Cannes Film Festival, Un Certain Regard
• 2015 Cork Film Festival, Audience Award
• 2015 Asia Pacific Screen Awards, Best Performance
• 2015 São Paulo International Film Festival, Audience Award
• 2015 Valladolid International Film Festival, Best Director
• 2015 Valletta Film Festival, Best Film, Best Actress

Sentaro runs a small dorayaki (muffins) shop stuffed with azuki bean jam called “an”. He has his regular clients, especially female students. Until one day, Tokue, an elderly lady, offers herself as a helper. At first, he refuses the offer but immediately changed his mind when Tokue brings him to taste her delicious “an”. Thanks to its extraordinary ability and its secret ricotta, the business of Sentaro flourishes and the whole neighborhood rushes to eat its pancakes. Soon, however, things change, because Tokue is affected by leprosy.
Based on the novel of the same name by Akikawa Tetsuya, An is an atypical film for Kawase Naomi, evidently an ‘experiment’ far from his chords at least as regards the process of transforming a story into a film. For the first time, the director of Nara does not draw inspiration from her personal experience or from an inner solicitation. On the contrary, she makes the reverse path, looking for her gaze inside a microcosm that does not belong directly to her. A matter of nuances of light details that, however, in a cinema built on the details, makes the difference. Because the result, even in the delicacy that characterizes Kawase’s cinema is a sense of unprecedented distance. A strange inadequacy in adhering to the story of a friendship born in the kitchen. From the beginning, Sentaro overlooks the cherry trees in bloom, one feels the shifting of the attention from ‘inside’ to ‘outside’, from what is invisible to what instead represents everyday life. Like the dorayaki, in fact, that take a whole new meaning thanks to the hands of Tokue. They are swollen and sick, they alone manifest the health of the elderly helper, but they also testify to their attachment to life. The creative desire that the kitchen represents in every culture. As often happens, food becomes a vehicle for encounter, alchemy that binds the characters and gives new meaning to things. And so this sweet bean cream turns into a recipe for happiness, which teaches Sentarō the love of things, to the young fixed customer of the store gives an atypical family where to feel at ease, while the good Tokue has been able to pass on her recipe for complicity.
A simple story, therefore, almost an edifying story, unusual and without force, predictable and too light in the transparency of tones and rhythms far from incisive. An operation that sometimes seems to be built into schemes alien to the director, all played on the surface of things, on the practical effects of gestures, on the idea, anything but new of food as a path to happiness and spark that can change life. And then there are the three protagonists to represent three generations and three different ways of experiencing solitude, yet another adhesion to narrative stereotypes.
[Katsuyuki Nakanishi]

Katsuyuki Nakanishi
Born on 1984 in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture. Graduated in Vantan Film and Movie Institute major in film director. The fourth graduate of JSC Cinematographers assistant upbringing cramming school. While he was studying in Tokyo, he was also working with Director Shinya Tsukamoto's movie at the same time. After that, he became part of the lighting department of Toei Studios Kyoto, studied under Kiyoto Ando and Takashi Sugimoto. In these movies, he worked as an assistant lighting director with Takashi Sugimoto in "Chacha - Tengai no Onna"(2007) and Kiyoto Ando in "The Fallen Angel"(2010). He work as a freelancer since 2011 and became part of these latest movies as a lighting director of Director Yang Ik-June's ”Shibata and Nagao"(2012), Director Keisuke Yoshida’s ”Himeanile”(2016), Director Kohki Yoshida’s ”ThreeLights"(2017), Director Hiroshi Ando’s ”Moon and Thunder" (2017) and Director Shinya Tsukamoto’s ”Killing” (2018).

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