Not knowing that he is dangerously ill, a middle-aged civil servant, who has suddenly lost his wife, visits his son in Japan and learns more about his wife, her dreams and himself.
This variation on Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story is held together by a moving performance by Elmar Wepper, as the civil servant seeking to fulfil his wife’s last wishes. Having been as coolly received by Tokyo-based son Maximilian Brückner as he and Hannelore Elsner were in Berlin by ungrateful children Birgit Minichmayr and Felix Eitner, Wepper cuts a truly tragi-comic figure.
But once he gets to know busker Aya Irizuki, he steps out on the road to redemption. Full of gentle humour and unforced pathos, this is a delight, with Hanno Lentz’s photography stippled with subtle metaphors that avoid cross-cultural platitude and quaint kitsch.
Unpredictable and compelling, this draws parallels between Japanese and German cultures in interesting and moving ways.