AN (2015)

Fiction Feature

2015 / Japan, France, and Germany / 113min

©2015 AN Production Committee / COMME DES CINEMAS / TWENTY TWENTY VISION

Sentaro runs a small bakery that serves dorayakis - pastries filled with sweet red bean paste ("an").
When an old lady, Tokue, offers to help in the kitchen he reluctantly accepts. But Tokue proves to have magic in her hands when it comes to making "an". Thanks to her secret recipe, the little business soon flourishes... And with time, Sentaro and Tokue will open their hearts to reveal old wounds.

ENG Website: http://www.mk2pro.com/film-en/an/?lang=en (MK2)
JPN Website: http://an-movie.com/

Director's Note:

Cherry blossoms allude to death. I don't know of any other trees that bloom so vibrantly only to scatter their petals so suddenly. Is that why people are fascinated by the Cherry Blossoms, compelling them to reflect back on their own lives?
Sentaro and Tokue meet when the Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom. The life paths and times that these two people have experienced have been vastly different. Their souls, however, linger, and intersect over the same landscape. Our society isn't always a place that nurtures one's dreams to come true. Sometimes it even buries one's sense of hope.

After it is revealed that Tokue used to be a leper, the story delves deeper into exploring the essence of what makes us human. As a filmmaker, I have the honor and pleasure of exploring fate and destiny through cinema, as with the story of 'An'-Sweet Red Bean Paste. By unveiling society's complex history through this film, I hope we can gain a greater understanding of the essence of human life. The obstacles that one faces in life will play a significant part in the telling of this story. As the characters face their obstacles, they try to grow and gain understanding from their experiences. The obstacle that Sentaro faces is one he has created on his own. The obstacle Tokue faces is one she could not escape, that has weighed upon and oppressed almost her entire life. Despite living a life forsaken by others, deprived of human dignity, and never allowed to have a child, Tokue still comes to know the essence of human life, finding her own way in the world. The happiness she is able to discover in her life, can offer a lesson to modern society. There is urgency to telling this story in the times we live in, the story of someone who struggles to live her life despite society's deprivation of her human dignity. These two people, who meet during the Spring Cherry Blossom season, will re-encounter each other's souls in the following same season.

This story is built around the idea of "hearing the voice of those unheard." Sentaro and Tokue reveal their pasts, for each other's sakes. They could have ignored their calling, but they come to their decisions by remembering and honoring what must be done. Through this experience, they see through to the essence of human life, touching upon what it means to be alive, seeing each other as they truly are, and preserving their own dignity. 'An' is a story worth being told through film, a story about two synchronous souls aligned to overcome life-long obstacles.

How many times do we have to get knocked down until we go high up to the heaven? Facing the immovable silence, waiting patiently for movement and change to make way for the joy found in engaging and connecting with what's around us... I'm hoping to reveal this joy through this film. Feeling persistent regret and despair in our lives, we tend to think we're useless in this world. Despite this, or because of this turmoil, we are able to keep our hopes for the future alive.

If I don't witness the full moon with my own eyes, it's as if the moon doesn't exist. The moon doesn't just exist alone. It exists because I exist here and witness it. This story is a window to view how we see each other, bound as we are by the relationships and connections we sustain with each other.

Crews & Productions

Directed by: Naomi KAWASE
Original Story: Durian SUKEGAWA
Cinematographer: Shigeki AKIYAMA
Lighting: Yasuhiro OTA
Sound Recordist: Eiji MORI
Set Decorator: Kyoko HEYA
Editor: Tina BAZ
Sound Editor: Roman DYMNY
Sound Mixer: Olivier GOINARD
Composer: David HADJADJ
Original Song: Motohiro HATA
Producer(s): Koichiro FUKUSHIMA, Masamichi SAWADA, Yoshito OYAMA
Co-producer: Thanasis Karathanos

Cast

Kirin KIKI
Masatoshi NAGASE
Kyara UCHIDA
Miki MIZUNO
Miyoko ASADA
Etsuko ICHIHARA