The new movie あん (AN) from Naomi Kawase made in 2015 was shown at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam this year. The movie is based on a book with the equivalent title from Durian Sukegawa. Again Kawase Sensei has managed to deliver a beautiful film.
AN, the title of this film refers to the filling of a well-known pancake named dorayaki, which is filled with sweet red beans paste. Sentaro is the chef of a small dorayaki shop and is asked by an older lady, named Tokue, to hire her no matter the job. At first, he declines saying he doesn’t need any help. This changes after she tastes his dorayaki and convinces him to change the filling and he tastes her homemade An. What he doesn’t know is that this woman has a problem, something she discusses with one of the Sentaro’s regulars en acquaintances, a girl named Wakana.
Naturally, the film is all about the dorayaki and its filling but above all, it is about the story of these 3 people; Sentaro, Tokue and Wakana. They develop a relationship with each other through their similarities, all three of them have gone through rough times and are still experiencing these which pulls them closer together and causes unique emotional bonds to form.
The thing that made the biggest impression on me is the story of Tokue because this is something that can be found in Japanese history. People who are sick and can’t help it and end up being avoided by those around them, going so far that they are being isolated from civilization. Sentaro’s story is also perticular because he as well is experiencing that he is forced to live his life based on things that happened in his past and Wakana is still looking for what is best for her. Three generations with different problems that need each other. This is what I especially liked about this film.
Also very beautiful are the images of the surroundings and the sakura of course. This way you can tell how much time has passed and this is also noticiable from the appearance of the main characters, I think this was framed in great detail and done really nicely. I thought AN was a special movie that can make a big emotional impression on you if you are sensitive to this. Which was the case for me. So highly recommended.