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The manager of a pancake stall finds himself confronted with an odd but sympathetic elderly woman looking for work. A taste of her homemade bean jelly convinces him to hire her, which starts a relationship that is about much more than just street food. Written by
Although I've traveled through Japan for three weeks last year, I had never heard of dorayaki, let alone eaten it. This omission has been put to an end by the film 'An'. As a nice and original gimmick, every viewer in the cinema I went to, received a dorayaki with his ticket, nicely wrapped in cellophane. The fun thing is: nobody knew exactly what is was, until the film was well underway.
A dorayaki is a sort of double mini-pancake, filled with bean paste. The Japanese word for the bean paste is an, hence the title of the film.
'An' is a small, heartfelt, feel-good movie. It starts and ends with beautiful images of cherry-blossom, the epitome of all things Japanese. The story takes place in the twelve month period between the blossom seasons. Sentaro, a quiet man in his thirties, sells dorayaki in a fast food stand. One day, a woman in her seventies brings him a plastic box filled with home-made an, because she doesn't like the industrial an Sentaro uses for his dorayaki. At her request, Sentaro hesitantly hires her as an expert an-maker, and from then on, business is booming.
This sounds like 'An' is a movie about food. It is, but it's about much more. The story is also about illness, death, discrimination, youth and capitalism. But above all, it's about enjoying life and looking at the bright side of things. There are parallels with the wonderful Indian film 'Lunch Box', but 'An' is less energetic and much more philosophical. It tends to be a bit slow, and towards the end the story drags on a bit. But these are minor flaws. Overall, 'An' is a nice film that makes you leave the cinema with the feeling that mankind isn't so bad after all.
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