Coming out in select theaters in Hokkaido this Saturday is new film starring Oizumi Yo, Shiawase no Pan.
Shiawase no Pan depicts the lives of a humble couple and the customers who visit their small bakery-cafe inn on the edge of Lake Toya, a picturesque lake in Hokkaido.
Mizushima-kun, played by Oizumi, bakes the bread and Rie-san, played by Harada Tomoyo, drips the coffee.
Their customers range from Tokio, an introverted teenager; Yoko, a novelist who overhears everything; Miku, a girl who doesn’t speak, and her father; Abe-san, who always carries a heavy leather trunk; Kaori, a heartbroken girl; Sova, a curious lamb; and an elderly couple returning to the place of their memories.
There is no more plot than the interactions we see between these characters in this sanctuary-like bakery. Hopefully, we get to watch them grow, in a subtle sort of way.
The attraction of the Shiawase no Pan lies in the subdued, but beautiful Hokkaido atmosphere and the shots of comforting food made from gorgeous fruits and vegetables — organic, of course.
The trailer leaves us with some key questions that are sure to drive the film. How and why did the couple end up living this idyllic life? Is this life really “the answer?” How will their example affect their customers? And perhaps, how will the customers affect them?
Oizumi Yo is currently nominated for Best Actor in the 35th Japan Academy Awards for his 2011 film “Phone Call to the Bar.” He originally got his start as a local television talent in his hometown in Hokkaido. As his popularity grew nationally, Oizumi solidified his reputation as a Hokkaido representative, which landed him this role.
Other than Hokkaido-ite, Oizumi typically portrays a funny, often arrogant character. Many of his roles are slightly loser-ish and unlike-able. He is still a relatively fresh face in Japanese film and television. As he attempts more roles breaking out of his character, we can anticipate some potentially good works from him.
Harada Tomoyo, playing the other lead, is a film veteran who’s been in the industry for 30 years. Her early work includes The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Today she’s also an active musician.
Shiawase no Pan comes out in theaters in Hokkaido January 21 and nationwide on January 28. Leave a comment and let us know what you think of the trailer.