When his father dies, 22-year-old medical student Kens otherwise quiet existence is consumed by bottomless grief. Losing all interest in life, he begins to withdraw more and more from the world around him, and, finally, decides to commit suicide. Miraculously, he survives his leap into icy waters in the middle of winter. Yet even the experience of having only narrowly escaped death cannot arouse his will to live. Believing that what her son urgently needs is a change of air, his mother packs Ken off to his uncle in Japan. Takuma is an artist. At his pottery, he makes crockery according to a centuries-old tradition. A follower of Zen, he lives for the moment, loves nature, knows no prejudice and is fascinated by the strangest of things. Takuma is an important role model for an American woman potter. This idiosyncratic master is the exact opposite to Kens father. His moral concepts differ greatly from those of the young American medical student. Gradually, the mystery that seems to surround the potter and his rich and deeply traditional art, as well as everything about this strange, remote environment, begins to awaken Kens curiosity. But are these impressions sufficient to rekindle his will to live? Will they help Kens inner flame to burn as brightly that of Kamataki, the ancient method of firing porcelain used by Takuma to heat his old kilns?
by Claude Gagnon
with Matt Smiley, Tatsuya Fuji, Kazuko Yoshiyuki
Canada / Japan 2005
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