“While this may not sound like a super-exciting film (and it wasn’t), the acting and characters they portray are just lovely.”

by Martin Hafer

Haru Wo Seotte (AKA Climbing to Spring) is an enjoyable and totally unique Japanese film, however, I must warn you that it does progress a bit slowly–so stick with it because the characters are very easy to love and the story quite uplifting.

Haru Wo Seotte
Directed by
Daisaku Kimura
Ken’ichi Matsuyama, Yû Aoi, Sôsuke Ikematsu
Release Date
Out Now
Martin’s Grade: A-

The film begins with a prologue that occurs 20 years ago.  A young boy, Toru, is climbing a snow-covered mountain with his father.  When the going gets tough, instead of encouraging or consoling the boy, the father slaps him hard to tells him to stop sniveling and climb!  Eventually, they reach a hut way up on the mountain and they begin to prep it for a flood of guests.  It seems that the man owns the hut and this is the beginning of the climbing season.

The film now jumps to the present day.  Instead of following in the family business, Toru is a financial wizard in the city.  However, he learns that his father died in an accident while he was trying to save an inexperienced climber.  Toru arrives for the funeral and soon he learns that since there isn’t anyone to run the mountain hut, his mother plans to sell the place.  Surprisingly, Toru then decides to quit his high-paying job and run the business himself.  He’s not the mountaineer that his father was and it looks like a very daunting task indeed.  Through the rest of the film, you watch as Toru and two helpers work to make the business succeed.  And, you learn whether or not Toru is the man his father once was.

While this may not sound like a super-exciting film (and it wasn’t), the acting and characters they portray are just lovely.  They seem real and you find yourself really caring whether or not they succeed.  Because of this and the wonderful realism the director is able to instill (it looks like it was filmed in the most remote and inhospitable place in the country), the movie managed to not only keep my attention but left me feeling very satisfied.  Well worth seeing.