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July 21–27, 2017

Chicago Theatrical
Premiere

Harmonium
(Fuchi ni tatsu)

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Film still: Harmonium Film still: Harmonium Film still: Harmonium
WINNER
Un Certain Regard
—Jury Prize
Cannes Film Fest
Critics' 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"
  —New York Times
"[Director Kôji] Fukada locates an effective formal language to articulate the vagaries of a decidedly askew universe"
  —Film Comment
"The film provides the veteran cast with an ideal framework to mount masterful performances"
  —Variety
4 stars "Disturbingly raw... a provocative, intelligent movie for those with a strong emotional constitution"
  —TimeOut London
4 stars "This highly accomplished Japanese drama...is well worth watching for those with the stomach for a cold, bitter, intoxicating deep drink of bleak"
  —The Guardian
Recommended "Absorbing... Writer-director Kôji Fukada (Hospitalité) maintains a somber tone throughout as well as a subtle visual style, rooted in patient long takes, that encourages deep reflection on the themes of grief and forgiveness.
  —Chicago Reader
Recommended "Elegant... Hitchcock material conveyed with the formal calm of a latter-day Ozu"
  —NewCity Chicago

Kôji Fukada's latest film is both a contemporary Japanese drama as well as a chilling thriller with aspects of Greek tragedy. In its depiction of a seemingly ordinary family, Harmonium posits that solitude is part of the inner essence of human beings, and it studies what happens when that solitude erupts in sudden violence. Toshio (Kanji Furutachi) runs a machinery workshop out of his house, and the only time he spends with his wife Akié (Mariko Tsutsui) and their young daughter is when the family sits together almost wordlessly around the dining table. They go on this way, seemingly content to live as strangers to one another, until one day when, in front of Toshio's shop, there appears a clean-faced man in a white shirt. It is Yasaka (Tadanobu Asano), an old friend of Toshio's who has just been released from prison. However, his gentle manners cannot conceal his disquieting presence and catastrophe soon falls upon the family, but not in the way one might expect.

A stranger at the door, a vicious love triangle, a mysterious past, and an innocent girl: these are all classic thriller elements, but under Fukada's brilliant direction, all narrative rules are subverted. The result is a psychologically acute tale of crime and punishment that begins an unsettling chain of events, which expose the cracks within the family unit and ultimately results in tragedy with every elegantly measured scene.

Directed by Kôji Fukada, Japan/France, 2016, 118 mins. In Japanese with English subtitles.

Showtimes

  • Fri., July 21 at 7 & 9:15 pm
  • Sat., July 22 at 2:30, 4:45, 7 & 9:15 pm
  • Sun., July 23 at 1, 3:15 & 5:30 pm
  • Mon.–Thurs., July 24–27 at 7 & 9:15 pm
Buy tickets

Tickets

$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or charles@facets.org.

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation