In rural southern Romania, 80-year-old Costache stoically tries to rebuild his life after his wife died in a flood that also swept away their home. The old man keeps himself to himself, living simply and stoically trying to move forward. The simple rhythm of his life is disrupted when his estranged son, Ticu, unexpectedly visits bringing his Japanese wife and their seven year old son, Initially the tensions between the family memebers are palpable but they slowly grow used to each other and are genuinely sad to say goodbye when the visit is over. Costache finds himself left with only an all singing, all dancing robotic dog (the Japanese Dog of the title) to remind him of the visit. This dog acts as a powerful symbol of the huge cultural gap between rural Rumania and urban Japan, a gap that Ticu has learnt to negotiate with ease, but one that is daunting to the other members of the family.
a robotic dog
dances on the table top -
This is a beautifully minimalist meditation on family, loss and recovery and a beautifully made film too, with wonderful panoramic views of the landscape in between the intimate scenes inside the broken down house where Costache is remaking his life.
The Japanese Dog is showing as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival:
2040, 28 June and 1300, 29 June both in Cineworld
You can read my previous reviews of the film festival so far by following the links below:
Virunga. (and you can read about the Q & A with the Virunga team here)
A Dangerous Game.
My Name is Salt.
Legacy, Mistory and Language - a review of N: The Madness of Reason; A House in Berlin and Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?
Ancient Temples, Vertigo and Film-making - a review of Manakamana and La ultima pelicula.
Disclaimer: I have a press pass for the Edinburgh International Film
Festival amd am attending free press screenings of these films.
A reminder that I'm running a blog giveaway to win a pdf of my book Bougainvillea Dancing, poetry, prose and photos inspired by Malawi. Find out more and enter here.
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