An (DVD) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Drama
Director: Naomi Kawase
Distributor: Cinéart
Duration: 109 minutes

An (DVD) – Movie Review

Site Score
Good: Acting performances, Topic
Bad: Slow pace might not be suitable for all viewers
User Score
(3 votes)
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Rating: 7.7/10 (3 votes cast)

Look at it any way you want, food has always been a great way of bringing people together. Be it friends who haven’t seen one another for years, or new acquaintances you wish to get to know better or perhaps even your first date. An, which is literally the sweet bean paste that goes inside dorayaki, the small pancake-like food that is often sold in smaller shops at street corners, is a story where three people come together and learn from one another and perhaps even seek more than just a quick meal.


Sentaro (Masatoshi Nagase) manages a small food stall/shop that sells dorayaki, which is a very affordable small meal for those who happen to pass by. Only minutes after the movie starts playing it’s clear that Sentaro has his heart in the right place, but he lacks passion for what he does. One of his regulars Wakana (Kyara Uchida), a young schoolgirl, clearly has a tough time at home and has no one to rely on. Sentaro often hands her the ‘failed’ dorayaki buns and helps her in such a fashion. It’s clear that this is a daily routine for both parties but it does give both a sense of comfort. All of a sudden an elderly lady comes to Sentaro’s shop, asking about his vacancy for a part-time worker. Tokue (Kirin Kiki) states that she always wanted to do a job like this, and that if she would be hired, she would work for a very low pay, as she solely wants to experience this chance. Sentaro brushes her off quite gently and even gives her one of his dorayaki pancakes for free. Later that day Tokue returns with a small box of her own self-made an, after tasting Sentaro’s product. She states it could be better and thus she asks him to taste it. Even though Sentaro originally throws it in the bin, he then changes his mind and tastes it and he is quite mesmerized.

An 1

When Tokue returns the very next day, he then asks for her help and even agrees that his own an is store-bought and Tokue immediately suggests to help him make his own, albeit with the necessary preparation time. From now on, they’ll have to start before the crack of dawn, to make great tasting an. After a short time, the business is booming but if everything would keep going as smooth as this, the movie would lose its forte. Tokue has leprosy, which is treatable this day and age, but it was rather untreatable when she was younger, thus her hands are slightly deformed. Due to this, and the social view on people with the disease, word starts to spread and it might seem like either Tokue has to go, or that he will lose customers over time. Nonetheless, he has been forming a rather tight bond with her, thus making a choice will not come easy.

Overall this drama moves rather slow, but due to how the scenes are filmed, there is never a dull moment to be found. The necessary information is given when the situation asks for it, and the lengthy scenes where Tokue and Sentaro work together are pleasant to watch. Do not expect much action in a movie such as this, just enjoy the flow and how everything is portrayed.

An 2

Acting performances are quite solid, and while there are a few extra characters on the side, it’s actually all about Tokue, Sentaro and Wakana. Even though Masatoshi and Kyara do a superb job in playing their gloomy characters, it’s Kirin that) who elevates the entire movie. This brave old lady is so vivid and alive that you immediately get cheered up by her enthusiasm.

Outside of the original trailer that can be found on this DVD release, there is also a short film, also by Naomi Kawase, that’s about an interview with a Japanese fashion icon. While this interview seems like nothing special, it soon becomes clear that there’s more than meets the eye. Definitely worth the watch, even though this short feature and the main movie of this DVD are miles apart when it comes to style and topic.


An is a great movie for those who want to watch something tranquil yet quite serious. Even though this might not be a typical ‘feelgood’ movie, it has certain beautiful scenes about finding the will to carry on and perhaps in some cases to find redemption. If you are interested in Japanese culture, and you love a good drama movie from time to time, this one is certainly worth a watch.

An 3

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Rating: 7.7/10 (3 votes cast)
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Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
An (DVD) - Movie Review, 7.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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