China. 2021. 112 min
Yanagawa is a film about two very different brothers who travel from Beijing to Yanagawa, Japan. They meet a girl who they both were in love with in their youth. One day she had disappeared without goodbyes. Wistful undertone is given by the fact that the film starts with one of the brothers getting diagnosed with cancer. The young man wishes to depart without leaving much behind, but without knowing it, he leaves so much in other people’s hearts. The story takes a look at the individuals’ memories and helps to make sense of the seemingly small events that sometimes play a decisive role in the course of a life. Zhang Lu precisely directs this organic and vital film, which takes the viewer to drift on the Yanagawa Canal in the light of a full moon peeking between the clouds.
Korean-Chinese filmmaker ZHANG Lu started out as a novelist before turning to filmmaking. Renowned for his artful portrayals of idyllic scenes, Zhang has received awards from the Cannes, Locarno and Berlin film festivals over the last two decades. Yanagawa is his thirteenth film and his first feature film directed in China.
He does not need too much introduction among filmlovers. His films have gained success in different international film festivals such as 2007’s “Desert Dream,” 2010’s “Dooman River” and last year’s “Fukuoka” at Berlin; 2001’s “Grain in Ear” at Cannes; and “Gyeongju” at Locarno. His film A Quiet Dream had it’s international premiere at Tallinn. He has a long history as a writer and his films are imbued with poetry of life.