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Shara (2003)

Sharasôju (original title)
The Aso family live in the old town of Nara. One Day, Kei, one of the Aso's twin boys suddenly disappears. Five years later seventeen-year old Shun, the remaining twin, is an art student. ... See full summary »


Naomi Kawase


Naomi Kawase
2 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Kohei Fukungaga Kohei Fukungaga ... Shun
Yuka Hyyoudo Yuka Hyyoudo ... Yu
Naomi Kawase ... Reiko
Katsuhisa Namase ... Taku
Kanako Higuchi Kanako Higuchi ... Shouko
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Yûko Den Yûko Den ... Background Dancer


The Aso family live in the old town of Nara. One Day, Kei, one of the Aso's twin boys suddenly disappears. Five years later seventeen-year old Shun, the remaining twin, is an art student. He now has to move forward with his life, together with his childhood friend, Yu. Written by JeanH

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Release Date:

31 March 2004 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Shara See more »

Filming Locations:

Nara, Japan


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Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Realproducts See more »
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User Reviews

The Zen of doing without doing
14 March 2013 | by chaos-rampantSee all my reviews

Zen, transliterated from Japanese, means 'to manifest the simple'. Easier said than done, starting with the basic acknowledgment that nothing is really simple in life. In the madcap terms of Zen, however, it means precisely that—nothing, it is simple. Better said, it is riding a horse, and there is no man on the saddle, and no horse under it. So how to convey nothing at all?

Well, look no further. This filmmaker, Kawase, is after my own heart, she nails it. She has a rather flat dramatic sense, but the rest is pretty wonderful.

This is some of the best cinematic Zen I know. It has the 'free and easy wandering'. It's visibly imperfect, relaxed but faintly echoes of melancholy. As with L'avventura, a disappearance is the tip of the thread. Nothing really happens, except between loss and new life, there is some life. The camera floats around corners of life, it takes you there. We marvel at different textures, types of light; gardens abound. Next to Sans Soleil, this is one of the best films to transport you to Japan.

It's simple. The idea, laid out early in a talk between the organizers of a dance street festival, is to convey a sense of joy and participation, it's to create out of nothing, in the streets, a spontaneous atmosphere. However, the spectator has to participate, that is you. In essence, it's the same idea that drives both meditation and Japanese tea. It's sitting down, letting what you think it should be all about flow out, so that, hopefully, you're left with what it was in the first place.

In our case, it's the connection between people.

It's magical when it happens, on the day of the festival. Viewers will be puzzled by what the repetitive dance is supposed to mean, those more perceptive perhaps tying it to the Buddhist mantra chanted earlier in a temple. It means nothing, that's the beauty. It's there, like the dance in the film, to take you from humdrum life to joyful appreciation of it being what it is.

It's magical, because the dance is really nothing, they're doing (a whole troope) the same thing over and over again. And yet it's infectious, diffused in the air it shapes the experience. What you see is better than metaphor, it's transcendent—it actually transforms the weather.

Something to meditate upon.

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