Mitsuya Majime (Ryuhei Matsuda) is an unsuccessful salesman. But his love of reading and dedication, as well as a post-graduate degree in linguistics, catches the eyes of Masashi Nishioka (Joe Odagiri) and Kouhei Araki (Kaoru Kobayashi), dictionary editors who are seeking a replacement for Araki himself, as his wife is sick and he would like to spend more time by her bedside.
With Majime on the editing team, the group plans to produce a new dictionary called "Daitokai" (The Great Passage/大渡海) which would bridge the gap between people and the sea of words and would take years to complete.
Back at his home, the Sou-Un-Sou Rooming House, Majime meets Kaguya Hayashi (Aoi Miyazaki), his landlady's granddaughter who has just returned from culinary school. He is struck by her beauty. Upon discovering this, the chief editor Matsumoto (Go Kato) asks Majime to write the definition for the word "Love". (Story description courtesy of Wikipedia")
Selection Committee Comments
“It ‘s no wonder that this film was nominated for 11 Japanese Academy Awards, and that Japan submitted it to the American Oscars as their candidate for best foreign film. Great script, great acting, great producion, great everything.”
“It is really a story about Japanese diligence and craftsmanship. To work so hard, for so many years, to make the best thing ever – in this case, a dictionary. We Japanese can relate to that, and I hope that this movie helps Americans to understand that this tradition and these values are still very much alive in Japan.”
“In the age of the internet, who needs a printed dictionary? Even the Japanese publishing company in the film wondered, which is why the Fune wo Amu dictionary staff was “exiled” to another building. But this film shows the importance of words, and language, and serious scholarship. And most important of all, it is about striving to do your best. Maybe the movie is about a Japanese language dictionary, but the lesson applies to all of us, no matter what we are doing in our life.”
“I can’t think of any better way to end CineMatsuri than with Fune wo Amu,” which Japanese filmmakers consider to be their best film of the past year.”
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