Travels With JB

Travels With JB

Travel news and reviews

Encompassing romance, comedy, travel and the supernatural, Sidonie in Japan offers a little of something for most audiences.

Isabelle Huppert (Sidonie Perceval) and Tsuyoshi Ihara (Kenzo Mizoguchi) star in Sidonie in Japan.

The French art house movie tells of a visit to Japan by once renowned French author Sidonie Perceval (Isabelle Huppert). Her Japanese publisher Kenzo Mizoguchi (Tsuyoshi Ihara), has reissued a translation of her debut novel.  After initially agreeing to visit Japan to promote the re-issue it’s clear from the outset of the movie Sidonie regrets that decision and doesn’t want to go.

Gradually we learn the reasons – she is still grieving the loss of her husband Antoine (August Diehl). She is depressed and hasn’t written a word since his death. Sidonie in Japan follows her ‘recovery’.

Kenzo, who is dealing with the breakdown of his marriage, helps with the healing process. Their slow and tentatively growing relationship provides the movie’s romantic element.

Isabelle Huppert (Sidonie Perceval) and Tsuyoshi Ihara (Kenzo Mizoguchi).

Providing the supernatural is Sidonie’s interaction with Antoine who appears as a ghost, mostly in her hotel rooms. She’s the only one who can see him and their conversations illustrate her grief and her realisation of what her life has become since his death.

These interactions also provide some of the movie’s funny moments, but most of these come from Sidonie adapting to `Japanese ways’ which she discovers are different to what she is used to.

Providing the travel element is the author’s tour Sidonie and Kenzo embark on. Temples, a deer park, cherry blossom and the famous art island of Naoshima all feature in the movie.

Tsuyoshi Ihara (Kenzo Mizoguchi) and Isabelle Huppert (Sidonie Perceval).

Huppert gives a strong performance as a woman initially awkward and vulnerable who gradually becomes far more confident. Ihara is equally believable as the quiet but perceptive and caring Kenzo. The chemistry between the two is shown through both words and gestures.

Sidonie in Japan is unlikely to appeal to those looking for an action- packed movie, but for those who enjoy a slow burn, character driven, ‘fish out of water’ style romance then it’s well worth considering.

Sidonie in Japan opens in select cinemas on July 4.

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