Sweet Bean (An)
A graceful, quietly moving drama from acclaimed director, Naomi Kawase.
Sentarô (Nagase Masatoshi) is the proprietor of a bakery that serves dorayakis – delicate pastries filled with delicious, sweet red bean paste (anko). When an elderly woman, Tokue, (Kirin Kiri, well known to lovers of films by Hirokazu Kore-eda) offers to help in the kitchen, Sentarô is reluctant, but a taste of her homemade anko – Tokue tells him she’s been making it for fifty years – persuades him to give her a try-out.
Tokue’s lovingly made anko proves a hit with the neighbourhood clientele and local high school students, among them the shy, attentive Wakana (Kyara Uchida). Sentarô’s small-scale business flourishes and Tokue’s gentle presence slowly helps draw him out of himself. A self-contained man burdened by guilt and a difficult personal history, Sentarô’s capacity for joy is slowly renewed. As it turns out, Tokue has painful memories of her own to reconcile, something Sentarô and Wakana only become aware of when fear-driven and deeply-ingrained social prejudice rears its head.
**– Roberta Ciabarra; Curator, Film **
“Beautifully shot and quietly moving, An is a humble masterpiece from a singularly accomplished filmmaker.” Toronto International Film Festival