7 user 18 critic

Sharasôju (2003)

The Aso family live in the old town of Nara. One Day, Kei, one of the Aso's twin boys suddenly disappears. Five years later seventeen-year old Shun, the remaining twin, is an art student. ... See full summary »


Naomi Kawase


Naomi Kawase
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Kohei Fukungaga Kohei Fukungaga ... Shun
Yuka Hyyoudo Yuka Hyyoudo ... Yu
Naomi Kawase ... Reiko
Katsuhisa Namase ... Taku
Kanako Higuchi Kanako Higuchi ... Shouko
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Yûko Den Yûko Den ... Background Dancer


The Aso family live in the old town of Nara. One Day, Kei, one of the Aso's twin boys suddenly disappears. Five years later seventeen-year old Shun, the remaining twin, is an art student. He now has to move forward with his life, together with his childhood friend, Yu. Written by JeanH

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Release Date:

31 March 2004 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Shara See more »

Filming Locations:

Nara, Japan

Company Credits

Production Co:

Realproducts See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



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User Reviews

A Nutshell Review: Shara
28 August 2008 | by DICK STEELSee all my reviews

First and foremost, I thought the camera took on a life of its own, and drew a lot of attention to itself. It's free-wheeling, panning, tracking and zooming into noises that call out for notice. In some sense, it took on voyeuristic elements as it seemed we're right there with the characters and witnessing incidents as they unfold in the movie at first person's perspective. Not only that, Kawase has a penchant of incredibly long takes, not slow moving all the time though, but having scenes reveal themselves in one continuous shot. I would've imagined the nightmare during production should someone mess up, and the need to start over. Shots following characters also seem to be favourites, where it felt like we had to perpetually chase after the characters to follow on every plot development.

The story's nothing to shout about, as it looks at the lives of a household in Nara, Japan, after a member of the family mysteriously disappears, leaving behind mom Reiko (Naomi Kawase), dad Taku (Katsuhisa Namase) and their son Shun (Kohei Fukungaga). The opening shot's quite peculiar as well, as a slow moving camera rotates about in a room, as we hear continuous background chimes from the neighbourhood temple, with the voices of Shun and brother Kei conversing, and finally seeing them through window reflections, before a game of "follow me" turns into mystery, one which never gets resolved conclusively in the movie, unless you deem that the eyes from which we watch the movie, is from the eyes and perspective of Kei's.

Kei's disappearance is classic X-Files, just as how Fox Mulder had to deal with Samantha's own, and here we follow the family and how they each dealt with this - as one of the unseen characters puts it - case of "spirited away". Taku immerses himself in organizing the annual Basara street festival as its chairperson, while mom Reiko cultivates green fingers. Shun, blaming himself for losing sight of his brother, exorcises his demons through painting, and from the care given by girlfriend and neighbour Yu (Yuka Hyyoudo), who turns out to be living with her aunt. Even then, the theme of loss doesn't get forgotten, in another long talkie scene where Yu learns of how she came to live in a foster home under the guardianship of her aunt, in a rather incestuous tale that sounded a wee bit incredible, though surprisingly moving.

All's not doom and gloom though in Shara, in case you're wondering if this movie's slow pace would be your cup of tea, or whether you'll feel down after watching a sad movie. The movie ends off with a rather uplifting note of hope, where the anticipated birth of a child with a fine penis (yes, it was from the movie, OK?) lies in stark contrast with the mysterious loss of one in the beginning. In fact, things start to pick up (in pace even) after the Basara street festival scene, where before the narrative dealt with the mulling over Kei, and had generous allowance to set up all the principal characters.

And what a spectacle the Basara street performance was! Though it was highly repetitive, you can't deny the exuberant energy that the camera captured from the performers, entertaining all in a mesmerizing dance on the streets, which turned into a wet rain dance sequence under heavy downpour. If any scene would've stuck in your mind after you leave the theatre, this would be it, with a little wry scene where Shun had in his crowd control duties, inadvertently blocked the view of a cute knee-high tall child with his palm.

Shara turned out to be surprisingly enjoyable, and I now look forward to the documentary by Tetsuaki Matsue titled Summer Vacation with Naomi Kawase.

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