The Woodsman and the Rain

Koji Yakusho and Shun Oguri charm in Shuichi Okita’s latest

The Woodsman and the Rain

©2011 Kitsutsuki to Ame Film Partners

Director: Shuichi Okita
Starring: Koji Yakusho, Shun Oguri, Kengo Kora
Japanese title: Kitsutsuki to Ame

After chronicling the lives and dietary regimes of a team at an Antarctic research post in his debut, 2009's The Chef of South Polar, writer/director Shuichi Okita sticks closer to home for the follow-up. Set in the countryside of Gifu Prefecture, The Woodsman and the Rain revolves around a subject beloved of most filmmakers: filmmaking itself. The titular lumberjack, Katsu (Koji Yakusho), is a 60-year-old widower with a layabout son and an uncanny knack for reading the weather. When a film crew encroaches on his turf to make a zombie flick, he ends up getting involved with the production – first reluctantly, later with an eagerness that sees him bunking off work to direct traffic and making late-night house calls to rustle up extras.

In the process, he befriends rookie director Koichi (Shun Oguri), a nervy youth with a mild case of obsessive compulsive disorder, and who happens to share his name with Katsu's son. The relationship between the two men forms the heart of this charming, unhurried comedy, and it's nicely played by both actors, even if Oguri can get a little hammy at times. Much like in Okita’s last film, not a whole lot happens in The Woodsman..., and its dramatic peaks and troughs feel deliberately small-scale. The pleasure often lies in the details – be it the logistics of shooting a scene or the rigmarole of preparing a bento – and the gently humorous dialogue, of which there is plenty. This isn’t cinema of great consequence, but it’s pretty damn beguiling all the same.

The Woodsman and the Rain opens nationwide on February 11

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By James Hadfield
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


1 comment Add a comment

This movie was pretty good I liked how peaceful it was

Posted by Ovais909 on May 02 2013 07:20

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