Satoko Yokohama, 2022 (116m)
In the small town of Itayanagi in northern Japan, Ito (Ren Komai) is a downcast teenager living with her father and grandmother. She’s a talented musician, skilled at playing the traditional shamisen. Recently, though, she has lost all interest in playing music - especially amid constant pressure from her grandmother to keep practicing. Eager for new experiences, Ito impulsively answers a job ad for a nearby ‘maid café’. Her new job helps her break out of her shell, but it only adds to the simmering tension between her and her father. Ito is a charming and affecting comedy-drama, anchored by a wonderful lead performance from Ren Komai. The film elegantly brings together traditional Japanese culture (the art of the three-stringed shamisen) and modern cultural trends (the rise of the maid café), all while offering a universally appealing coming-of-age story.