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Always: Sunset on Third Street Review

Always: Sunset on Third Street Poster

I am glad San Diego Asian Film Festival brought this old film back due to popular demand, this Japanese film released in 2005 is a wonderful touching movie that gives people hope in the end. Always: Sunset on Third Street is based on a popular manga, and directed by the Japanese filmmaker Takashi Yamazaki. The stories in the film take place in post-war Japan in the late 1950’s, when many ordinary Japanese were still trying to walk out their broke lives caused by war, and at the same time working diligently to rebuild Tokyo. The film was a huge success in Japan. In 2006, Always: Sunset on Third Street scooped up 29 awards and 2 nominations, 12 of them were from the 2006 Japanese Academy Awards, including the awards for Best Film, Director, Actor and Screenplay. At the showing I attended over the weekend, the theater was filled, and tickets were completely sold-out.

I am not Japanese, and I never lived in Japan, but I found many things in the film that I can relate to. For instance, the excitement of acquiring the modern refrigerator, the purchase of television, and how neighbors gathered at night to watch TV together, the list goes on. After watching it, it made me to reminisce my own childhood in the little Chinese city in the 1980s, when life was more difficult, living condition were harsher, but people were simpler, nicer and more sincere. Undoubtedly, the film evokes a sense of romanticized nostalgia, but in a way it reminded all of us how people bonded and helped each other in difficult times, how we appreciated many things that these days we take for granted, and I think this kind of reminder is precious.

Always: Sunset on Third Street

Although some of the CG scenes were incomparable to Hollywood standard, but overall the film is polished and the attention to detail is visible in the set design and costume design. It really brought viewers back to the Showa Period, and I personally love the colors in the movie, they are vibrant and nostalgic. The acting of all the actors and actresses was impeccable. As movie progresses, you develop a strong connection with each character, and you laugh and cry with them. Finally, the ending of the movie is uplifting and beautiful, the finished Tokyo tower in the sunset stands as a testimony of these people’s resilience and hard-working, and above all the love and respect between them.

I highly recommend this film, it is definitely a must-see. I urge you to try whatever you can to find access to it, because it is definitely worth of your effort. It is a film that makes you feel more positive about humanity.

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