Ichiko (the wonderful Mariko Tsutsui) leads an honest, quiet existence working as a home-care nurse. For years she has cared for Tôko, the elderly grandmother of the Oishi family. Ichiko has become like one of the family, especially to Tôko’s granddaughters, Motoko (Mikako Ichikawa) and Saki (Miyu Ogawa). One day though, Saki disappears and it seems Ichiko’s nephew is involved. Ichiko feels helpless as the stability of her work and private life slips away.
Japanese filmmaker Kôji Fukada (Harmonium) crafts a slow-burn, suspenseful drama unravelling social conventions and exploring human complexity in a tense portrait of a woman caught up in a spiraling crisis. Tsutsui’s performance captures the complex internal suffering of Ichiko’s plight, and her burgeoning dread of what is to come.
Notes by Marie-Pierre Richard.
Screening as part of the East Asia Film Festival Ireland 2020 – March 26th to 29th. Multi-film pass available: 5 films for €50.