Maborosi (Widescreen) [Import]
Hirokazu Kore-eda's haunting, graceful Japanese film features a concentrated and powerfully reserved performance by Makiko Esumi as Yumiko, a young woman whose life is defined by the death and disappearance of her loved ones. As a child, she witnessed her grandmother's walking away from her family; as an adult, she must face the fact that her husband has committed suicide.
Impeccably lit and framed, this self-consciously classical first feature blends characteristics of two of the great Japanese masters: a sensitive portrait of a woman's suffering is reminiscent of Mikio Naruse and a serene, minimalist style is suggestive of Yasujiro Ozu. At times, Kore-eda seems to be trudging too dutifully in the path of his illustrious predecessors, and there is little in the film that could be qualified as original. Yet Maborosi remains convincing in its subtle, sustained moods and the quiet confidence of its approach. --Dave Kehr --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Sadly, Yumiko gets a knock on the door, as several police officers ask about her husband and his job. She is accompanied to the police station where she is presented his belongings. There she is told, he walked in front of an oncoming train, despite its warnings, he kept on walking ... an apparent suicide. She is discouraged from viewing what is left of his body. She is distaught and receives help from a neighbor and her mother ... As time passes, four years go by, and a kindly neighbor becomes match-maker, as her son and she board a train to northern Japan to a small fishing village.
Yumiko partakes of a wedding celebration with her new husband, a haunting beautiful ballad is sung by a male guest as the wedding guests clap out the rhythm. Her new life begins ... The stark beauty of the mountain scenery, the shore, the village, and ocean are superbly filmed. Yumiko's son and stepdaughter explore the coast in breath-taking scenery ... Yumiko is enculturated into the lifestyle of the village. During one haunting scene, a group of villagers walk along a road to the sea coast ... There is a bonfire which could be a funeral pyre for someone.Read more ›
The film starts off by showing a young girl named Yumiko trying to convince her grandmother to return home, however, the grandmother is determined to return home to die. Yumiko is unable to prevent her grandmother from leaving and this weighs on her young mind. Warp twelve or so years later and Yumiko is married to her childhood friend Ikuo and is the mother of a three year old son. Yumiko and Ikuo are far from well off, they live in a very small apartment with incredibly thin walls, but they seem to be decently happy. Well, at least Yumiko seems happy. After her husband brings home his bike and leaves with an umbrella, the next thing we learn is that he was killed walking on the train tracks. A suspected suicide.
Time passes and Yumiko's mother arranges her a marriage with a widower who lives in Kanazawa. Unlike her small apartment, Yumiko and her son move into a large old house with her new husband, his father, and his daughter. Ikuo gets along beautifully with his step-grandfather and step-sister and while it seems Yumiko likes her husband well enough, the shadow of Ikuo is always preasant.
This is a gorgeous film. Kore-eda does a wonderful job depicting the living conditions of a lower working class family and goes on to show ramshackle, but lovely older homes by the sea. Yumiko's husband's home looks incredibly shabby on the outside, but the polished hardwood floors and traditional furniture are extraordinary. Kore-eda also pays close attention to nature by showing the natural beauty of the region.
That said, the second half is too long. Even I get tired and have trouble keeping focus and this is supposed to be one of my favorites.
References to Japanese culture may be slightly opaque, but actually it's really not hard to have some appreciation even without prior familiarity. For instance, a kettle on a flame in a household is a recurrent image. There may be some specific reference or message there, but I think it's sufficient to appreciate it as a sign of the warm interior of the household and the tea ready to serve to family or guests.
Now, the reason for 3 stars only: The transfer is horrendous, abysmal, outrageous--this travesty demands retribution on whoever is responsible. Many reviewers refer to dark, indistinct images where characters can't even be recognized. The screen image is snowy throughout. Let me assure you that this never occurs in a decent print of the film, and to issue this transfer is a crime.
Most recent customer reviews
Maborosi (Maboroshi no Hikari) is a beautiful film. It's simply one of the best movies in my Japanese collection (which isn't small). Read morePublished on Dec 30 2003 by R. Wingate
this is an amazing film
images framed long and slow like the esteemed dutch painter contemplating something darker than his typical subject
few movies... Read more
A sad, quiet film about a young woman whose experience of death, such as the mysterious suicide of her husband, has left her with a deep, frightening stillness in her soul. Read morePublished on Feb. 2 2003 by David Bonesteel
I picked up Maborosi thinking it was another Japanese film I'd seen mentioned, so had no idea what to expect. Read morePublished on Jan. 6 2003 by avoraciousreader
The camera techniques and the subtle use of expression instead of words made me like this film. I found myself captivated by the movie and trying to figure out what she must be... Read morePublished on Aug. 9 2002 by A H Booches
I thought I was watching a documentary, not a film
I guess I should appreciate the movie for its artistiuc merit but there are certain things about it that bothered me. Read more
I first watched Kore-eda's film several years ago and was left with mixed emotions. Technically, I felt that the film was a masterwork, with some of the most stunningly composed... Read morePublished on July 14 2002 by James Chong
I've never seen such a powerful film. Mostly focusing on a series of scenes of everyday activities, it illustrates better than any other film I've seen the painful experience of... Read morePublished on March 2 2002 by somebody nobody
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