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The Great Passage

Japan / 2013 / 133 mins / Japanese / DCP


In this quirky, heartwarming film, the dictionary is at the center of some of life’s most powerful transitions. Shy and intensely awkward, struggling book salesman Majime can barely muster the confidence to speak. When he’s recruited to work on an ambitious new dictionary, his world finally begins to bloom.

Set in 1995, Japan’s 2013 Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film entry takes us back to a largely pre-digital world. As Majime diligently collects and checks thousands of entries with pencil and paper, we begin to see how words are the building blocks of human connection. Their shared definitions are the only way to know what others are feeling.

As Majime gradually enters the slipstream of language, he forges an unlikely friendship with his slick co-worker Nishioka and possibly something deeper with Kaguya, his landlady’s granddaughter. The dictionary, also titled “The Great Passage,” comes to stand not only for the transfer of meaning from one person to another, but for any number of passages — from youth to maturity, silence to speech and life to death.


Producer: Kimitaka Goka, Fumitsugu Ikeda, Yasuyaki Iwanami, Tomoo Tsuchii
Writer: Kensaku Watanabe
Cinematographer: Junichi Fujisawa
Editor: Shinichi Fushima
Cast: Ryuhei Matsuda, Aoi Miyazaki, Joe Odagiri

Dates & Times

The Great Passage

Sundance Kabuki
March 15, 2014 2:30 pm

The Great Passage

March 16, 2014 3:30 pm