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The director Koji Fukada was present at the screening of "Harmonium" at the Ghent Film Festival, where the movie was in the official competition selection. During a Q&A following the screening, he revealed that the Japanese title "Fuchi ni tatsu" could best be translated as "Standing on the edge", but the translation didn't quite have the same nuance. That's why he changed the international title to "Harmonium", referring to the musical instrument, but also because there was the wordplay on "harmony", which is an important element in the film. The use of the harmonium as a characteristic feature was a distinct choice, as the director saw it as a symbol of the traditional Japanese family. See more »
Super Downer and Depressing Movie! Leaves a lasting impression.
Wow, major downer!
This is not really a film to sit down and watch if you have other important things to do or want to have a good time; the pacing is typical Japanese/foreign slow-paced style where they have scenes of just showing a family eating dinner/playing the harmonium, etc.
However, if you are able to tolerate that kind of pacing, especially the first half, you are in for a major emotional downer. The movie really takes a sudden turn that it feels like a completely different movie.
If you invested in the first half, you will definitely want to know what's going to happen.
Unfortunately, it's one of those abrupt, somewhat unsatisfying endings that make you shout "OH, COME ON!!!!!" where it leaves you hanging way too much, almost a cop-out, and really makes you wanting and needing more; you start drawing all kinds of conclusions and interpretations because it leaves you with many unsolved questions that will bug the hell out of you just like the characters are feeling. It will probably leave you with a lot of frustrations, shock, or depression. The movie almost feels unfinished.
There is some religious theme and imagery going on with this film.
Although we've already seen "the creepy/odd/mysterious neighbor/stranger/former buddy" entering another sweet family type of movie plot many times before - and we all know how that usually ends up
this film adds some unique elements to it that feels more raw and
full of sympathy. It really makes you think about the consequences and emotional realism outcome that each and every character must feel.
The acting is great by all the cast. You just feel so bad and shocked like what the hell are you doing?!?!!
Again, this is definitely NOT an uplifting film. It's a pretty heavy movie that will certainly make you shake your head.
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