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  • Starring: Masatoshi Nagase, Kirin Kiki
  • Director: Naomi Kawase
  • Genre(s): Drama
  • Language: Japanese
  • Rating: NR
  • Running Time: 113 min.

This film is part of our In Translation series of recent foreign language films of note.

Synopsis: Sweet Bean is a delicious red bean paste, the sweet heart of the dorayaki pancakes that Sentaro (Masatoshi Nagase) sells from his little bakery to a small but loyal clientele. Absorbed in sad memories and distant thoughts, Sentaro cooks with skill but without enthusiasm. When seventy-six-year-old Tokue (Kirin Kiki) responds to his ad for an assistant and cheerfully offers to work for a ridiculously low wage, Sentaro is skeptical about the eccentric old lady’s ability to endure the long hours. But when she shows up early one morning and reveals to him the secret to the perfect sweet bean paste, Sentaro agrees to take her on. With Tokue’s new home cooked sweet bean paste recipe, Sentaro’s business begins to flourish, but Tokue is afflicted with an illness that, once revealed, drives her into isolation once again. [Kino Lorber]

In Translation Series

May 29 & 30 - Embrace of the Serpent

June 5 & 6 - Cemetery of Splendour

June 12 & 13 - Rams

June 19 & 20 - Sweet Bean

June 26 & 27 - The Clan

"The movie, beautifully shot and acted, earns its ultimate sense of hope by confronting real heartbreak head-on, and with compassion."
- Glenn Kenny, The New York Times
"A celebration not just of homemade cooking but of taking your time and doing it right - precisely what the celebrated director does herself."
- Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
"Naomi Kawase's gentle study of life, loss and confectionery is easily the Japanese auteur's most accessible work to date."
- Guy Lodge, Variety