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A Reel Life film section

Issue: Summer 2015-6

An (2015) movie review

Red Bean Jam and Friendship

exclusive to Cinema Nova; 300x119 space


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Australian movie poster, AN, Festivale film review; 220x314

Australian movie poster, AN

movie poster, An, Festival Film review; 220x311

Movie poster, An

Sentaro (Masatoshi Nagase) is a middle-aged man who spends his days making and selling dorayaki. This is a sandwich of small pancakes filled with red bean paste (jam), served hot or cold. He has a small shop on a Japanese city street under the cherry trees. When 76 year-old Tokue (Kirin Kiki) applies for a job assisting him, Sentaro refuses, but he gives her a dorayaki to take with her.

Tokue is charming, and she keeps bringing down her possible hourly rate. She has seemingly crippled hands that she says work, but don't look good.

She returns saying the pancakes were fine, but the an "not so good". She gives Sentaro a container of her own an. It is a revelation.

movie still, An, Festivale film review; 500x333

Tokue (Kirin Kiki) preparing the red bean paste in AN

Sentaro, Tokue and the teenage customer Wakana (Kyara Uchida) develop a friendship spanning their three generations.

movie still, An, Festivale film review; 500x333

Sentaro (Masatoshi Nagase) and Wakana (Kyara Uchida) share a moment in AN

Writer/director Naomi Kawase does a lovely job adapting and presenting Durian Sukegawa's novel.

Having seen some anime, but not Japanese film, it was amazing to see what a corner of Japanese life looks like. I appreciate both forms more now.

An is a moving story of mistakes and forgiveness, of acceptance and the courage to move on. There are many film studios who claim their films are about 'redemption' when they are just about fighting. This film is more truly about finding redemption in daily life and small acts of kindness.


Japanese with English subtitles.

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by Ali Kayn
Australian release 17 Mar 2016 exclusively at Cinema Nova.
For credits and official site details, see below
Search Festivale for more work by the film-makers below.
See also:

See the trailer

See more films to be released in Mar 2016

Just the facts:

Title: An (2015)
Written by: Durian Sukegawa (novel), Naomi Kawase (scr)
Directed by: Naomi Kawase
Running time: 113 mins

The Players: Kirin Kiki, Masatoshi Nagase,

Official website:
IMDb entry

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