Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)

Film poster for Snow Falling on Cedars - Copyr...
Film poster for Snow Falling on Cedars – Copyright 1999, Universal Pictures (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s winter 1947 in Washington State, and postwar racial animosity is sky-high. A white fisherman is found dead on his boat, and a Japanese-American neighbor is accused of his murder. The winter vibe of this dreamy adaptation of David Guterson’s bestseller is virtually the film’s main protagonist (Ethan Hawke’s conflicted trial observer is relatively passive), from the opening scene of snow falling gently on the harbor as a lighthouse blinks its warning to the frosty breath of the Japanese citizens as they march out of town (in flashback), wearing fur-collard coats, toward the internment camps. The film was unjustly maligned and ignored when it was released; there is good acting all around, particularly by Max Von Sydow as the stalwart defense attorney, and the snow-crusted cinematography is breathtaking.

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