Harmonium
review

Harmonium

Toshio (Kanji Furutachi) runs a machine workshop from a garage and is in a slightly dysfunctional relationship with wife Akie (Mariko Tsutsui). They have a daughter, Hotaru (Momone Shinokawa) on whom Akie dotes and with whom Toshio struggles to relate. When Yasaka (Tadanobu Asano), an old friend of Toshio’s, unexpectedly arrives at the workshop, Akie is surprised at the ease with which her husband employs him and offers him bed and board. Her ill-ease is soon replaced with affection, when the new staff member and lodger becomes a valued part of the household; but when he tries to take more than he has been offered, a tragic event throws the family into disarray.

The Olive Tree
review

The Olive Tree

Alma (Anna Castillo) is one of three cousins who constitute the youngest generation in a close, yet slightly dysfunctional family of chicken farmers in the Spanish province of Castellon. But they didn’t always have a penchant for poultry; once, the family business was far more romantic, as they lovingly harvested plump olives from the ancestral grove of olive trees. Alma has cosy memories of the oldest of the trees, where her grandfather (Manual Cucala) taught her to graft new trees and she recalls her childhood imagination seeing a monster’s face in the 2,000 year old heirloom. Her fondness for her grandfather extended to the beautifully ancient tree, as Grandfather himself imparted his own appreciation for the oldest family member, in his eyes. But economic crises led to the family selling the tree, against eight-year-old Alma’s and Grandfather’s wishes, to fund a new project. When the latter is reaching the end of his life, Alma sets out to find the tree, hoping to rekindle a zest for life in her beloved Grandfather.

Hey - so sorry I missed your message when I first joined Cultjer! Thank you for welcoming me and I'm really pleased to be onboard. Just uploaded my second review - everyone is so fast at reviewing new releases! You have loads of stuff on here - been having a read through - v.cool :) Looking forward …

The Handmaiden: Director's Cut
review

The Handmaiden: Director's Cut

It is the 1930s and life is fairly predictable for Koreans, labouring under Japanese colonial rule. When young Sook-Hee (Tae-ri Kim), a poor Korean orphan girl on the cusp of adulthood, is chosen by ‘Count’ Fujiwara (Jung-woo Ha) to be a handmaiden to the rich Japanese heiress Lady Hideko (Min-hee Kim), also in the first bloom of womanhood, she has little choice. She is overwhelmed by the difference betwen her new abode and that of her previous home in a Korean version of Fagin’s den. But her new assignment is more complicated than merely buttoning up her lady’s dresses and accompanying her on woodland walks and painting lessons. Secretly, she is part of a plot, hatched by Fujiwara, to betray the heiress and elicit her fortune.

A Silent Voice
review

A Silent Voice

Nishimiya (Saori Hayami) quickly becomes a target for bullies at her new school when her new classmates struggle to accept her hearing impairment. She transfers to yet another school and the bully ringleader - Ishida (Miyu Irino) - she leaves behind is shunned by classmates and forced to bear sole blame for Nishimiya's torment and subsequent departure. Reunited with her years later and having assumed responsibility for his actions, Ishida reaches out to Nishimiya in a humble attempt to show her that he is not to be feared anymore. In time, forgiveness becomes friendship but Nishimiya's family are like a protective force-field around her and Shoko's friends from his past life are confused by his redemption ...