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A BOY AND HIS SAMURAI offers an unusual take on the fish-out-of-water tale

A BOY AND HIS SAMURAI (CHONMAGE PURIN) (Yoshihiro Nakamura, 2010 )
Film Society of Lincoln Center, Walter Reade Theater
165 West 65th St. at Amsterdam Ave.
Sunday, July 3, $13, 12:30, and Monday, July 4, $13, 6:30
Series runs July 1-14, ten-film pass $99

Following audience favorites Fish Story in 2009 and last year’s Golden Slumber, Japanese director Yoshihiro Nakamura returns to the New York Asian Film Festival with the North American premiere of the often silly but mostly charming heartwarmer A Boy and His Samurai. Based on a manga by Gen Araki, the family-friendly film focuses on single mother Hiroko (Rie Tomosaka) and her young son, Tomoya (Fuku Suzuki), whose lives get turned upside down when Kijima Yasube (Ryo Nishikido) suddenly shows up, claiming to be a samurai from the Edo Period some 180 years ago. In exchange for food and lodging, Yasube helps around the house, doing the cooking and cleaning and looking after Tomoya while Hiroko is at work. When Yasube shows a knack for making amazing desserts, he puts down his sword in favor of a pastry knife, but trouble awaits this mild-mannered samurai. Yasube adapts a little too quickly to the modern world in this fish-out-of-water tale, but every time it threatens to become too conventional, taking the easy way out, Nakamura adds just enough twist and turns to keep it fresh. Tomosaka and Nishikido are fine in their fairly standard roles, but Suzuki is the real star as the cute kid excited to have a father figure around. A joint presentation of the NYAFF and Japan Cuts: The New York Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema, A Boy and His Samurai is screening July 3 at 12:30 and July 4 at 6:30 at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center.

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