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Japanese film explores familial ties
On April 14, the Vernon Film Society will show Like Father, Like Son, the new drama from acclaimed Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda.
The heart-wrenching story unfolds as two sets of parents have their worlds turned upside down when they learn that their six-year-old sons were switched at birth.
One family lives in a modern Tokyo high-rise. Father, Ryota, is an ambitious architect intent on climbing the corporate ladder. His wife, Midori, is a loving mother who carefully monitors her only child’s academic and cultural education.
The other family lives outside the city in a modest apartment above an appliance store. Their son plays in the bathtub with his siblings and watches his easygoing father tinker with his toys.
While both families are hesitant to force an abrupt change in their families, they soon begin to socialize, even to the point of swapping boys on the weekends.
Japanese pop star Masaharu Fukuyama delivers a moving performance as Ryota, whose soul-searching about the meaning of fatherhood lies at the heart of the film. Although framed in a Japanese cultural context, the questions of nature-versus-nurture are universal. Like Father, Like Son reminds us that any definition of family needs to be constructed around unconditional love, first and foremost.
Like Father, Like Son screens Monday at the Towne Cinema at regular times of 5:15 and 7:45 p.m. Tickets are available one week ahead at the Towne and the Bean Scene for $7. Everyone is welcome – you do not need to be a member.
The Vernon Film Society is celebrating its 30th anniversary and, as a thank you to loyal patrons, is offering passes for any five movies for $30. These passes will be available for purchase at regular movie nights and will expire at the end of December.