|Kyara Uchida (left), Kirin Kiki (center), and Masatoshi Nagase|
Sweet Bean, a food-themed drama from writer-director Naomi Kawase, is scheduled to open in New York on Friday, March 18 at Lincoln Plaza Cinema followed by national roll out.
In Ms. Kawase’s graceful tale adapted from the novel by Durian Sukegawa, introverted loner Sentaro (Masatoshi Nagase, Mystery Train) runs a tiny “dorayaki” (pancakes filled with an, a sweet red bean paste) stand in the suburbs of Tokyo. When 76-year-old Tokue (veteran actress Kirin Kiki, Still Walking, Chronicle of My Mother), persistently asks Sentaro to work in the shop’s kitchen, he reluctantly accepts. It soon turns out that in addition to having uncanny culinary skills (her an is much more delicious than Sentaro’s) and a mysterious communion with nature, Tokue has the ability to transform those around her, including Wakana (newcomer Kyara Uchida, real-life granddaughter of Kirin Kiki), a shy teenage schoolgirl who’s a regular at the shop. Thanks to Tokue’s sweet bean recipe, the little business soon flourishes, and with time, Sentaro and Tokue open their hearts to reveal old wounds and painful secrets.
|Sweet Bean writer-director Naomi Kawase|
Born and raised in Nara, Japan, writer-director Naomi Kawase has been a fixture at the Cannes Film Festival since 1997 when she became the youngest director to win the Camera d’Or (Best First Film Award) for her debut feature Suzaku. With her fourth feature, The Mourning Forest, she received the 2007 Cannes Grand Prix, and became, in 2013, the first Japanese director to serve on the Cannes competition jury. Known for her introspective and poetic fiction works focusing on family and the characters’ connection to nature, she also directed two autobiographical documentaries, Embracing and Sky, Wind, Fire, Water, Earth, in which she examined the loss of being abandoned by her parents as a child.