Director Hirokazu Koreeda further blurs the lines between film and television with the first episode of his new series, A Day Off Of Kasumi Arimura. A comic, sweet, charming drama that sees actress Kasumi Arimura play a fictional version of herself. With filming cancelled on her current TV show, Kasumi makes an impromptu visit to her mother in her old hometown.

Koreeda’s cinematic career has been defined by depictions of, unconventional, family dynamics. His latest is smaller and lighter in tone than his previous work, but nonetheless impactful and his direction is at its best when following mother and daughter. While the action revolves around simple scenes of domesticity the relationship between Kasumi and her mother (Koreeda regular Jun Fubuki) is electric. Their bittersweet banter as they reminisce about Kasumi’s father or throw jibes at the other’s lifestyle, all of which belies both the unresolved issues and unspoken affection they have for one another. Both performances are so well-judged; being in their company is a delight, when it could easily have been frustrating. Koreeda’s style means that when someone finally touches a nerve the sudden silence speaks volumes. Soon the simple actions of clearing the table or doing the washing up are charged with tension.

Koreeda is an excellent director of characters and it would have been great to see more of them. However, in 40 minutes he has created an intimate and realistic relationship that already matches the best of his cinematic work.

A family portrait that relies on realistic performance rather than quirky comedy and saccharine melodrama to produce the laughs and warm the heart. It’s a shame we can’t see more, but it’s a bitesize taste of an excellent director that should encourage any who haven’t visited his near-perfect back catalogue.   



CAST: Kasumi Arimura, Jun Fubuki, Shinnosuke Mitsushima

DIRECTOR: Hirokazu Koreeda

WRITER:  Sakura Higa 

SYNOPSIS: Kasumi Arimura is a TV star, but when filming is cancelled on her latest show she finds herself with a day off. Returning home to pay a visit to her mother, the two women cook a meal together and begin discussing the good and bad in their lives.