Directed by Yosuke Takeuchi
“A beautiful and moving story of a family torn apart by tragedy. Chie tells a lie to cover up a fatal mistake and her uncle has to pay the consequences.” – Melanie Ramos, Features Programming Committee
2016 Thessaloniki Film Festival, Best Director & Best Actress
Three years after the Great Earthquake hit Japan, Mitsuo is released from a mental hospital where he had been placed after the strain of clearing rubble and aiding displaced families was too much for him. Welcomed with open arms by his family, Mitsuo works to piece his life back together and begins to live comfortably with his younger brother, Yuta, sister-in-law, Yoko and their two young daughters, Chie and Itsuki, the younger daughter born with Down Syndrome. Yuta captures the happy occasion of the family unit coming together on video camera and we witness a teary Mitsuo while playing in the background, a news reportage on earthquake victims profiles one who says frankly, ” I have nothing but I have my family. That is a massive difference.” Herein, Takeuchi sets up the framework of this subtle, yet powerful indictment of the trauma wrought by both environmental and economic crises and immediately, proclaims his sympathies.
After a terrible accident, for which Mitsuo is blamed, his rehabilitation is thrown into disarray. As the eponymous title character, he copes by planting seeds into the ground in hope of cultivating new life. The film then proceeds methodically to chart the unraveling of the family unit in the fallout. Takeuchi elicits incredibly emotional beats from all four of his leads, adding much gravitas. Each character is given their own unique perspective as they grapple with the consequences and each of their role in it. The pacing is deliberate, done in a way that each excruciating and heartbreaking moment is delivered to the audience with the tenderness it deserves. Partially inspired by true events in Takeuchi’s own life and the tumultuous one led by Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh, THE SOWER is a heart-wrenching examination on how the fear of difference can spawn deep roots.
Garnering awards at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival and the Stockholm Film Festival, THE SOWER, which treads the familiar, hollow grounds of familial bonds under stress so central to the cinema of Hirokazu Koreeda, makes its North American premiere here at Festival Week. The film, with tension building piece-by-piece, is an insightful look into the lies we all tell ourselves.
— Jeremy Gaudette, with additional contributions by Lindy Leong
Yosuke was born in Japan on 25th March 1978. He graduated from Shibaura Institute of Technology in 2000, and went to France to learn painting in 2002. In 2003, Yosuke won the Jury’s Special Award at the exhibition of Academie de Port-Royal and traveled to various places in Europe and Africa before going back to Japan in 2004.
Producer: Yosuke Takeuchi
Director: Yosuke Takeuchi
Writer: Yosuke Takeuchi
Cast: Kentaro Kishi
Camera Operator: Yuki Suematsu
1st Assistant Camera: Masato Takashima
Editor: Yosuke Takeuchi
Casting Manager: Yukari Mori
Location Manager: Manami Kawashima
Recordist: Ryoma Ochiai