The Great Passage
When a member of the editorial team of the dictionary division of a Japanese publisher wants to retire to take care of his wife, he promises to find a suitable replacement. No one is sure that painfully shy Majime will fit in. He is smart and diligent and thoughtful but he lacks people skills.
Majime does indeed find his calling in spear-heading the division's new dictionary (The Great Passage) which will be the first to incorporate slang and youth usage alongside more traditional words. He, like his colleagues, devotes his life to the task in this funny and touching film. Along the way he falls in love with his landlady's grand daughter in one of the most charming romances you can imagine.
While the task is admirable and it is nice that each member of the team has a job they enjoy dedicating their life to, I actually found it sad that they had so little little time for their personal lives. As the dictionary nears completion, the director is stricken with cancer but he is just happy that he has been part of this great project. And while Majime's wonderful romance has passed the test of time, I felt sorry for the lovely Kaguya who loses him to the office for so much time that they could be spending together. But I guess this is a just big part of Japanese culture.
The film is a little longer than it needs to be, but it is bursting with charm, compassion and humour and tells a very solid story which celebrates a love of words.
See it on Oct 6th at 2:00 pm at the Cinemateque and watch the trailer here.