There are quite a few Japanese films being presented at this year’s Montreal World Film Festival. While mostly known for their samurai adventure movies, Japanese cinema is actually quite diverse and the festival has some interesting screenings coming up. “Budo No Namida” (A Drop of The Grapevine) is one of them. It is a story about a former musician turned wine maker and is being presented in the World Greats category.
Ao (Yo Oizumi) leaves against his family’s wishes to pursue a career in music but due to a serious health issue, returns home and has been growing grapes in hopes of coming up with just the right recipe for Pinot Noir. One day, Erika (Yuko Ando) a mysterious lady dressed in red shows up on his property and starts digging a hole in the ground. She refuses to listen to him so he calls a police officer to talk to her. The officer is charmed by her and they quickly become friends. Ao’s brother Roku (Shota Sometani) and their dog are also won over by Erika. Ao is upset and after a fair amount of bickering, Erika and Ao try to get past the negativity and get to know each other a little better. As they both try to deal with some lingering past issues, their connection brings about some much needed change for both of them.
All the Japanese films I have seen over the years have had tragic conclusions so I wasn’t sure if this film was going to be any different, but without giving away the ending, this film is refreshing because it is a movie that shows how faith and destiny can bring changes that you wouldn’t expect. The film is a mix of humor & drama with eccentric characters and good cinematography. It was emotional and poetic as well. All these elements put together made for an enjoyable film.