In a poor 19th century rural Japanese village, everyone who reaches the age of 70 has to climb a nearby mountain to die. An old woman is getting close to the cut-off age, and we follow her last days with her family.
Near the turbulent end of the Edo era, a man returning to Japan after exile in America searches for his wife and becomes swept up in the current of revolution in this incisive period drama from the great Shohei Imamura.
White-collar worker Yamashita finds out that his wife has a lover visiting her when he's away, suddenly returns home and kills her. After eight years in prison, he returns to live in a small village, opens a barber shop (he was trained as a barber in prison) and talks almost to no-one except for the eel he "befriended" in prison. One day he finds the unconscious body of Keiko, who attempted suicide and reminds him of his wife. She starts to work at his shop, but he doesn't let her become close to him.Written by
I tried to spoil my girlfriend, who studies Japanese culture, with a film and it worked! Unagi (the Eal) tells a story of man who commits a 'crime passionelle' by murdering his wife. When he leaves prison the guards bring him 'his' eal. Under supervision of a local priest he tries to live a peaceful peasant-life in a place where nobody knows about his past; he becomes a barber, the eal is his friend ('they never say things you don't like..'). The situation changes when, on instigation of the priest, a girl starts assisting him in his shop. Inevitable his dilemma's come back...
I loved this film for it reminded me much of the films of the Dutch director/producer Alex van Warmerdam; the ordinary, tightly directed up to every detail, the sufficating dilemma's lightly woven thru. Modern drama at it's best!
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