Geologist Sandy Edwards (Toni Collette), is assigned to baby sit Tachibana Hiromitsu (Gotaro Tsunashima), a visiting Japanese executive and show him round the red country of Western Australia’s remote Pilbara region, where some of the world’s largest deposits of iron ore are mined (and the oldest geological area in the world). She takes an instant dislike to the foreigner, and the cultural abyss between them seems to exaggerate the personal divide. When alone in the desert and in some danger, the two begin to discover things about each other and themselves.

A beautifully nuanced, tremendously moving portrait of compassion and respect.

Japanese Story is the first film from filmmaking trio, director Sue Brooks, writer Alison Tilson and Producer Sue Maslin since Road to Nhill back in 1997. Toni Collette plays Sandy Edwards, a geologist who is landed with the chore of being minder to a visiting Japanese businessman, Tachibana, played by Gotaro Tsunashima. Sandy\'s a no-nonsense sort of person - she lets her friends down, she\'s disconnected from her mother, Lynette Curran, there\'s a sort of gawky gracelessness to her, and yet she\'s competent. She and Tachibana have nothing in common, not even a language. She\'s long-suffering and he\'s aware of her impatience as they tour the mines and mineral sites of the West.

Japanese Story
may sound like one sort of film but there\'s a point at which it becomes something else altogether, a beautifully nuanced, tremendously moving portrait of compassion and respect. It\'s a standout performance from Toni Collette, she just keeps on getting better and better and Gotaro Tsunashima is equally good. The third element of the film is the landscape and as seen through Ian Baker\'s lens, the desert, the hills, the colours, that red dust resonate through our consciousness. After a year of disappointing films from Australia in cinemas, disappointing certainly in terms of audience appeal, Japanese Story soars to a great height. It\'s not to be missed.