Harmonium

Directed by Koji Fukada
Film Movement
2016
120 Minutes
Japan
Japanese
Drama, Asian
Not Rated

Toshio (Kanji Furutachi) sees his seemingly ordinary life take an ominous turn when Yasaka (Tadanobu Asano), a mysterious friend from his past, arrives unexpectedly. Recently released from prison and in need of a helping hand, Toshio gives him a job and generously takes him in to live with his wife and daughter. Toshio soon regrets this decision, as Yasaka gradually disrupts the family before finally causing irreparable damage. Koji Fukada's acclaimed companion piece to his black comedy Hospitalite treads darker waters as it unravels a searing tragedy that has captivated critics and audiences alike.

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Reviews

  • "[M]asterful performances. [T]his tale approaches a family’s flawed construct with the critical seriousness of Robert Bresson or Fukada’s compatriot Nagisa Oshima."
    Maggie Lee, Variety
  • "[C]ommands attention from start to finish. The film’s insights into the isolation evident in the relationships most take for granted — marriages, parent-child connections and long-term friendships — don’t merely hit their targets; they smash them with a sledgehammer."
    Sarah Ward, Screen Dailly
  • "...deeply involving and uncannily affecting..."
    Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
  • "A chilling slow burner that’s as much about the breakdown of a relationship as it is a mystery, it skulks towards its bleak conclusion and stunning final shot."
    Simran Hans, The Guardian
  • ""Harmonium" has plunged headlong into tragedy, but not quite in the way you might imagine. It keeps the guessing games going..."
    A.A. Dowd , AV Club
  • "CRITIC'S PICK. ...this chilly tale of violent secrets and unvoiced misery relies heavily on the skill of actors who seem to know that one false move could tip the whole enterprise into comedy."
    Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times
Jury Prize
Un Certain Regard
Cannes Film Festival
Official Selection
Special Presentation Programme
Toronto Int'l. Film Festival