Cheng Liang is a young Chinese illegal immigrant living in Japan. Desperate for work, he pretends to be someone else to get a job in a traditional Japanese soba restaurant. He starts his new life living and working with the elderly soba master (Tatsuya Fuji, In The Realm of the Senses), but always fearing to have his real identity disclosed at any moment.
- "With a strong central performance from Yulai Lu and great supporting work from Tatsuya Fuji, the film explores the intersection between the identities people need to perform in life and those they might discover within themselves. Delicate and patient in its approach, very traditional in its structure right up until the end, Complicity is rich in poetic representations of Japanese food culture and rural life. This is a context in which internal peace stems from a strong sense of one's place in the world, and the way in which it gently shifts to make room for a stranger makes a quietly optimistic statement about the future."
- "The thematic complexity of the film is contrasted by simple, almost minimal style of Chakaura’s filmmaking. Filming in usually somewhat longer, yet measured, takes and relying on hand-held, but still not shaky camerawork by Yukata Yamazaki (whose recent credits include Hirokazu Koreeda’s “After the Storm” and Naomi Kawase’s “Still the Water”), Chakaura insists on beautiful naturalism. The pacing is deliberately moderate, which suits the build-up of the characters and their relationships and also draws the viewers towards the long process of making soba, which requires skill, passion and patience. The chemistry between all the cast members is exquisite and the discreet, toned-down acting style suits the film well. Lu and Fuji, who both worked with Chakaura on his shorts in the past, are especially compelling, doing exactly what the director wants them to and infusing the film with the sense of genuine warmth."
- "A powerful plea for empathy and cross cultural connection, Complicity is a beautifully drawn character study in which kindness and compassion eventually open new paths for a conflicted young man trying to find his place in an often hostile world."
- "Kei Chikaura’s debut feature is a beautiful study of the human condition and our search for connections despite cultural differences."
- "In Japan, there are some iconic dishes that require precision and an almost philosophical approach during preparation. For these reasons, cooking is often used as a means to tell compassionate stories of acceptance and belonging. Complicity (Kazenoki Wa Koto No Youni), the debut feature from Japanese director Chikaura Kei, is a cohesive tale of immigration, identity and life accomplishments, enriched by the mouth-watering art of making soba."
Awards & Recognition
Toronto Int'l. Film Festival
Culinary Cinema - Best Debut
Berlin Int'l. Film Festival
Berlin Int'l. Film Festival
Window on Asian Cinema
Busan Int'l. Film Festival
New York Asian Film Festival