After making a mark in Japanese cinema with Human Comedy in Tokyo, Hospitalité and Sayonara, Fukada centres his sixth film, Harmonium - which won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at Cannes 2016 - on the damaging effects of a mysterious stranger.
Toshio (Kanji Furutachi) is a hardworking family man who takes great pride in the metal work he practices in his workshop and enjoys a quiet life with his wife Akié (Mariko Tsutsui) and their daughter Hotaru (Momone Shinokawa).
But their comfortable existence is interrupted when tall, thin Mr. Yazaka (Tadanobu Asano) shows up at their door: just out of prison after serving a long sentence, he has ties to Toshio's past. Hiring him as an assistant, Toshio also allows him to stay in the family home, where he tutors Hotaru on the harmonium.
But as Yasaka’s relationship with the family develops, it begins to highlight the loneliness and divisions within it; and soon his presence twists into something oppressive and frightening.
Seeking to challenge the stereotypical image of the ‘ideal family’ and to explore the nature of violence and often its inexplicability, Fukada’s film is a dark, subtle and emotionally powerful tale with gut-wrenching performances from all the cast - focused as much on physicality as dialogue - that provide great texture to the characters, allowing us to see to the heart of how fractured they have become.