From left: Kyara Uchida, Kirin Kiki and Masatoshi Nagase star in “Sweet Bean.”
Japan Foundation Los Angeles, 5700 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 100, Los Angeles, provides Japanese film screenings every second and fourth Wednesday at 7 p.m. On April 11: “Sweet Bean” (2015, 113 minutes), directed by Naomi Kawase.
A delicious red bean paste is the sweet heart of the dorayaki pancakes that Sentaro (Masatoshi Nagase) sells from his little bakery to a small but loyal clientele. Absorbed in sad memories and distant thoughts, Sentaro cooks with skill but without enthusiasm. When 76-year-old Tokue (Kirin Kiki) responds to his ad for an assistant and cheerfully offers to work for a ridiculously low wage, Sentaro is skeptical about the eccentric old lady’s ability to endure the long hours.
But when she shows up early one morning and reveals to him the secret to the perfect sweet bean paste, Sentaro agrees to take her on. With Tokue’s new home-cooked recipe, the business begins to flourish, but Tokue is afflicted with an illness that, once revealed, drives her into isolation once again.
Also, there will be a special screening on Friday, April 13, at 7 p.m. of “Life Is Fruity” (2017, 91 minutes) — a documentary about an architect and his wife who grow crops — with in-person discussion with Kiki (narrator), Kenshi Fushihara (director) and Katsuhiko Abuno (producer).
Free; no reservation required. For more information, call (323) 761-7510 or visit www.jflalc.org.