From the director of Au Revoir L'Ete and Hospitalité, Fukada’s Harmonium is an off-kilter take on that most venerable of Japanese genres — the family drama, which screened to great acclaim at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, where it was awarded the Un Certain Regard Jury prize.
In this slow-burn Japanese thriller Toshio invites an old acquaintance, Yasaka (just released from prison) to come and live with his family. Toshio lives above the small workshop that he owns with his wife, Akie, and their daughter, Hotaru. It is not clear why Toshio offers Yasaka a job; it doesn’t seem to be out of friendship or goodwill. Akie and Hotaru are wary of the new lodger, but with his persistent charm and goodwill, Yasaka befriends Toshio’s wife Akié and as Yasaka starts teaching their daughter Hotaru to play the harmonium, the family’s fragile domestic bliss is forever altered. Director Kôji Fukada is a master of incremental development, drawing the audience into the unfolding outcome.
Harmonium is set to receive its UK premiere as part of the first London East Asia Film Festival (LEAFF) on 24 October 2016, ahead of further screenings as part of the Cambridge Film Festival (27 Oct 2016), Bath Film Festival (7 Nov 2016) and the Leeds International Film Festival (5,8 & 10 Nov 2016), before being released in selected cinemas nationwide (UK & Ireland) on 5 May 2017. The specially created trailer is above.