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Screening at the 2012 Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, The Woodsman and the Rain is a very sweet and funny film focusing on the unlikely friendship of Katsu (Koji Yakusho) and Koichi (Shun Oguri). A lumberjack and widower, Katsu lives in a small mountain village. His work is interrupted one day by a production assistant from a zombie movie that is filming in the woods. Initially annoyed by the crew, Katsu soon finds himself helping them with location scouting. After playing a zombie in one scene, Katsu begins to enjoy the process, and becomes friends with the young director, Koichi. Through the filming, Katsu begins to better understand his own relationship with his son, while Koichi becomes more confident and comfortable with himself.

It’s not often that a film comes along that can actually fill your heart with peace and tranquility, but that’s exactly what The Woodsman and the Rain does. The feeling of small town life, with its quiet beauty and sense of family, comes through in the acting of Koji Yakusho. The surrounding countryside full of mountains, rivers, and lush forests also adds to the very calming nature of the film. It’s refreshing, like that first deep breath of country air after you’ve left the city. Everything about this film just feels good.

Viewers will instantly connect with the characters, hoping that everything can turn out well for them, and praise is owed to Yakusho and Shun Oguri in the lead roles. Their relationship is fantastic, adding plenty of humour and touching moments to the film. Although a little slow at first, once you get to know the characters, you won’t be able to stop watching.

Is The Woodsman and the Rain Essential Reel Asian Viewing?

A very peaceful yes is required here. The film is touching in a way that isn’t sappy, and actually quite funny. It can be quiet at times, and the pace is certainly slow, but the end result is a film that actually makes you feel better. Entertaining and relaxing, The Woodsman and the Rain becomes an experience that our typically hectic lives could use.

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