Harmonium review – family secrets bubble up in intoxicating drama

In Koji Fukada’s slow, elegant film, the appearance of an old acquaintance throws a family out of balance

This highly accomplished Japanese drama, which won the prize in the Un Certain Regard section at last year’s Cannes, is well worth watching for those with the stomach for a cold, bitter, intoxicating deep drink of bleak. Director Koji Fukada’s latest is constructed according to a certain ruthless logic even if the method of its reckoning remains opaque. In a nondescript suburban house, metalworker Toshio (Kanji Furutachi) lives with his mousy Christian wife Akie (Mariko Tsutsui) and daughter Hotaru (Momone Shinokawa), a kid of about eight or nine who is learning to play the titular instrument, a sort of cross between a mini piano and an organ. The arrival of Yasaka (the always bewitchingly watchable Tadanobu Asano), an old acquaintance from Toshio’s past, throws the little triad out of balance.
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