Ever since he was downsized out of his position as a salaryman at a Japanese medical equipment company, keeping up appearances has become a full-time job for Ryuhei Sasaki. He gets up every morning, puts on his suit, and, unbeknownst to his wife, he heads off to the unemployment line instead of the office, and at lunchtime, he lines up with the homeless for a free meal. Coincidentally, he runs into Kurosu, a former classmate in the same predicament who has quite an elaborate ruse going himself, and together they go about their daily masquerade. Meanwhile, in the Sasaki household, wife Megumi, and sons Takashi and Kenji have secrets of their own.
Tokyo Sonata is a subtle yet compelling study in quiet desperation, as an already fragmented family slowly falls apart. And although the secrets they keep are meant to protect their own dreams and each other, it is the secrets that may destroy them altogether, unless the best kept one of all brings redemption.
Join me this week on Chopstick Cinema for a closer look at the Asian entries in the 2009 Cinequest Film Festival, which opens on Wednesday, February 25 and runs through Sunday, March 8. For further information on the film and the festival, visit the Cinequest website.