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14 days to watch
7.1
/10
192 Ratings

Harmonium

Fuchi ni tatsu

Directed by Koji Fukada
Japan, France, 2016
Drama
  • Japanese
  • English

Synopsis

Toshio’s ordinary life takes an ominous turn when Yasaka, an old acquaintance, is released from prison and in need of help. Toshio gives him a job and takes him in to live with his family. He soon regrets this decision, as Yasaka gradually disrupts the family before causing irreparable damage.

Our take

The great Tadanobu Asano (Ichi the Killer) stars as the insidious house guest in this deeply stirring, hypnotic thriller which slowly and assuredly unfurls the many questions of what composes and inspires evil. Winner of Un Certain Regard’s Jury Prize, Harmonium casts a rare spell upon its viewer.

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Fukada works in a rapt and lucid hyper-textural style that suggests a merging of the sensibilities of Alfred Hitchcock and Yasujirô Ozu. Fukada’s fluid, shadowy, and multi-planed framing of power relationships suggests the films of the former, while his quietly attentive grasp of domestic quotidian suggests those of the latter. The result is a film that’s simultaneously lush and spare, lingering on the precipice of thriller terrain and informing certain gestures and objects with portent.
June 13, 2017
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This highly accomplished Japanese drama is well worth watching for those with the stomach for a cold, bitter, intoxicating deep drink of bleak… Although the story unfolds at a steady pace over two hours, the filmmaking is sufficiently elegant and metronomically efficient as to make every minute gripping, especially after the tragic twist halfway through the story.
May 04, 2017
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It’s seldom a good sign in the movies when a friend from the past suddenly resurfaces after a years-long absence. So begins Koji Fukada’s return-of-the-repressed family drama, which takes a power drill to your nerves and emotions without ever misplacing its sense of compassion.
November 10, 2016
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