Directed by Claude Gagnon
“Karakara” was voted the most popular Canadian-made movie at the Montreal World Film Festival, and there are good reasons for that: director Claude Gagnon who also wrote the script, was able to effectively combine elements of existential doubt, romance, a spiritual quest, admiration for traditional handcrafts and a good dose of humour. Pierre Masson (Gabriel Arcand), a 61-year-old professor just retired from teaching literature at a Quebec university, decides to take a trip to Japan for a spiritual quest. In this way he hopes to deal with some of the questions that puzzle him at this very crucial moment of his life by searching for some spiritual guidance in the ancient land of the Far East. Things however don’t unravel the way Pierre expected. Instead of a spiritual retreat he finds himself involved in a relationship with Junko (Yuki Kudo) a 40-year-old woman who first approached him to be his translator. To make things even more complicated, Junko is running away from her abusive husband and more or less forces Pierre to take her with him to experience a Living National Treasure of Japan., Toshiko Taira (as herself in the film,) who has devoted her life to the ancient art of BASHOFU, Okinawa’s textile handicraft made from banana fibre. Pierre discovers that it is through the manual work with this and other crafts, that spiritual harmony can be reached. Pierre hopes to be admitted as an apprentice there. A KARAKARA is a traditional container for Okinawan liquor awamori. The name is said to derive from sounds that the original form of the container would make when it became empty. The karakara symbolises Pierre and Junko’s empty lives, which they wish to ‘fill up’ again.
“Karakara” is a well narrated story that reveals important elements of self-discovery, with lessons learned by both protagonists. -Excerpt from Sergio Martinez review.
A Montreal World Film Festival Award Winner.
Producer: Takako Miyahira, Samuel Gagnon, Claude Gagnon
Screenwriter: Claude Gagnon
Cinematographer: Michel St-Martin
Music: Yukito Ara
Cast: Yûki Kudô, Gabriel Arcand, Megumi Tomita