Skip to main content

A TENDER PLACE

Japan, 2000 (MIFF 2002, Regional Focus)

Director: Shunichi Nagasaki

Five-year-old Yuka disappears without a trace from a resort cottage in idyllic Hokkaido. Her mother, Kasumi, is distraught and won't let go of the idea that her daughter is somewhere, alive. For five years she returns to Hokkaido, hoping to find a clue. Her quest is shadowed by a detective, Utsumi, who has his own reasons for wanting to be involved.

A Tender Place's approach is in the vein of Dutch director George Sluizer's classic The Vanishing (1988). Red herrings, dead ends, frustrating clues all combine to heighten the tension. The film develops a novelistic depth of characterisation and richness of plot, showing us several possible explanations for the disappearance before making us realise that we (along with Kasumi) have been looking in the wrong place.

"The compulsive drive of the classic detective structure ... An absorbing mood piece, rich in detail, raw in emotional charge, thought-provoking, gripping and poignant. A Tender Place is nothing short of a masterpiece." - Midnight Eye, Cult Japanese Cinema

Shunichi Nagasaki's shorts, made while still at college, established his reputation even before his graduation. Nagasaki is now into his fourth decade as a filmmaker with titles including Heart Beating in the Dark (1982), The Enchantment (1989), Wild Side (1993) and Shikoku (1999).

See also...

THE DRIVE

Shumchi Nagasaki, (whose chilling Super-8 feature. Heart Beating in the Dark, screened at MFF 88) has been described as the 'Japanese Chabrol'. He shares with the French filmmaker a preference for ... More »

FACE

An extraordinary essay on how one woman finds freedom, from a filmmaker famous for his obsessive interest in the world of men. Now Sakamoto's thematic layers of macho uber cool toughness, pathos and ... More »

EUREKA

Winner of the International Critics Prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival, Eureka is an extremely powerful film that examines the effects of the brutal hijacking of a provincial bus in provincial ... More »

WARM WATER UNDER A RED BRIDGE

Warm Water Under A Red Bridge is the story of a recently unemployed man in his forties, whose wife has just left him On the advice of an old tramp, he travels to a faraway village, to a certain ... More »

NOT FORGOTTEN

Kijima, a WWII veteran, has always blamed himself for leaving his wounded comrade Kanayama behind to be killed by American forces-recurring nightmares conjure the terrifying fate he imagines his ... More »

NINE SOULS

Nine Souls Japan'a masterful work of pure kinetic energy, surreal imagery, raucous humour, eccentric characters and a driving guitar score' [director] Toyoda Toshiaki displays a unique and ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director