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In movies as in life, first impressions count. Hence all the money lavished on opening credits, all the thought devoted to opening scenes. Quite often though, the flashy, clever beginning comes to feel like a con, as the formulaic story wends its way to its predictable end.

In his new film, “Kitsutsuki to Ame (The Woodsman and the Rain),” Shuichi Okita persuaded me he knew what he was about from scene one and never disappointed thereafter, making maximum use of his talent with a minimum expenditure of yen. One of my favorites of this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival, it was rightly awarded the Special Jury Prize in the competition.

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