Aria (2006) - Rotten Tomatoes

Aria (2006)





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Japanese director Takushi Tsubokawa's blithe and occasionally spectral romantic drama Aria opens on the widowed piano tuner Ota, who battles grief over the loss of his wife with stone-faced solemnity and occasional flashes of rage. His late beloved, it seems, foretold her own death and insisted that he scatter her ashes over an isolated beach. Some time after her passing, an eccentric, aged puppeteer turns up with a realistic female mannequin, indicating his desire to find the piano on which Ota's wife used to accompany his performances. The puppeteer dies without seeing the wish fulfilled, but his daughter and apprentice agree to accompany Ota on a journey to find the beach where the ashes are to be scattered and to locate the piano in question. This sets in motion a strange and whimsical cross-country trip to the beach area of Hokkaido, a milieu now almost completely vacant because of the many young people who have left for more densely populated urban areas. It introduces Ota and his fellow companions to such eccentric individuals as: an octogenarian restaurant proprietor with a map to the beach and an indication of the piano's whereabouts; a hitchhiker who loves to sing about the ocean; and a wise old shrinekeeper. The shrine represents a turning point for the itinerant wanderers, for the woman feels drawn, magnetically, to the fox statues that surround it. The story then enters the realm of the fantastic, and the identity of the piano tuner's daughter becomes highly uncertain - if she is a threatening fox spirit or the presence of Ota's wife, reincarnated in another form, determined to reinvigorate his spirit. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi


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