Previously at the ICA - Films

Yuya Ishii, The Great Passage, 2013

BFI London Film Festival: The Great Passage

11 Oct 2013

It had to happen: Yuya Ishii has transitioned from idiosyncratic indie movies like Sawako Decides and Mitsuko Delivers to a big-budget movie with stars for a major company. He’s chosen an apparently intractable subject: the compilation of a new dictionary. Don’t worry, his characteristic humour and warmth come through intact.

In 1995, Mitsuya Majime (played by Ryuhei Matsuda, the boy from Gohatto) is drafted into the reference department of Genbu Publishing to work on The Great Passage, a 240,000-word Japanese dictionary which will include up-to-date slang. Much happens in the 14 years before it hits print: the publisher gets cold feet, the project leader is invalided out, and the geeky Mitsuya finds absolute fulfilment, with a serving of true love on the side. (She’s his neighbour in an old-world lodging house, and a great chef.) An entertainment on a Dickensian scale, crammed with interesting characters and amusing details. Ishii delivers!

Dir Yuya Ishii. Scr Kensaku Watanabe. With Ryuhei Matsuda, Aoi Miyazaki, Joe Odagiri, Haru Kuroki, Kaoru Yachigusa.

Japan 2013. 133min

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