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Directed by Kôji Fukada

Japan, 2016

HOME, 11 May 2017


What strikes you at the close of this film is its anti-redemptive quality: no one is saved, no one could possibly be at peace, torment awaits all.

It tells the story of a man who leaves prison, determined to remake his life. Or maybe not, maybe he is bent on revenge. Anyway, he is given work by a friend and lodging with his family. He helps the young daughter to practise her music.

The film is at once elegant, brutal and enigmatic. Its treatment of disability is disturbing. In the world it depicts, deception is rife – you don’t trust anyone. Mind, although people wear masks, weakness lets them sometimes slip. You think of the world of Akutagawa’s stories.

Harmonium is a great film, one which I could watch again many times over; it is as dark and dissonant as the human heart.