Tôkyô Yakyoku
1997 / 85m - Japan
Tokyo Lullaby poster


June 16, 2023


A subtle and subdued little drama. It's the kind of thing I expect to see from Jun Ichikawa, and he didn't disappoint. It's not his best work, for that it lacks a bit of extra refinement and/or something more distinct that could set it apart from similar films, but people with a soft spot for gentle Japanese drama will find plenty to enjoy here.

Koichi left overnight and disappeared from view, leaving his old life behind. When he finally returns, his wife, family, and friends struggle to accept Koichi back into their lives. He offers them no explanation for his actions, which leaves them uncertain of the future. But Koichi seems determined to stay and take up his life again as if nothing happened.

It's a premise that probably only works in a Japanese context, but it's a strong setup for a drama. The performances are solid, the cinematography is pleasant and while the pacing is slow (and not much of note happens), I never lost interest. A very decent, but also very standard drama in other words. Good oeuvre filler for Ichikawa.