The Empty Table
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Time Out saysWhen a student is arrested for his part in a terrorist siege, his apparently cool, callous father resists the customary Japanese social pressures to resign from his job (or even kill himself), and instead stands firm in his refusal to take the blame for his son's criminal acts. Result: virtually total breakdown of the family's stability. Glossily stylish, with impeccably composed visuals, the film focuses throughout on the dilemmas facing the unbending, outwardly unfeeling father (played with stoic taciturnity by Nakadai), charting the conflict between individual needs and emotions and the demands of society at large. Overlong and overschematic, it would benefit from a more total immersion in the hysterical conventions of melodrama to bring it to life, but admirers of vaguely politicised psychodramas may find much to enjoy.