A deeply compassionate and intensely moving film about an ex-con’s bumpy road to redemption, this masterwork from Miwa Nishikawa is punctuated by gentle humor, pointed satire, and explosive violence, and anchored by a career-best performance from beloved actor Kōji Yakusho. The writer-director’s first feature screenplay adapted from another author’s work (the 1990 novel Mibuncho by Ryūzō Saki), and her first film based on an actual person, it follows onetime mob chauffeur Mikami as he readjusts to life outside prison after serving a 13-year sentence for murder. In a nation that does not condone second chances, Mikami’s attempts to go straight are met with indifference… and glimmers of empathy.

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