I checked this DVD out more for my wife than myself. Sice reading "Memoirs of a Geisha," she's had a fascination with geishas and Japan. I've always been fascinated by Japan, although I must admit I am not a big Japanese film buff.
In fact, I've only seen one previous Akira Kurosawa film, "The Seven Samurai." "The Sea is Watching" is not actually by Kurosawa, although he wrote the screenplay and did story boards for the film before his death. The director, Kei Kumai, who completed the project, was hand picked by Kurosawa's son. Since I'm not a Kurosawa expert, I can't really comment on how true Kumai is to Kurosawa's spirit.
However, I can say that the film is excellent, a very involving tale focusing on O-Shin, a geisha seeking true love who has a bad habit of thinking she is in love only to learn her suitors feel differently. O-Shin is emotionally shattered when a samurai, who she believes loves her, indicates he is going to marry someone else.
But, she then meets a commoner, Ryosuke, whom she falls in love with. Ryosuke, however, is a troubled man and prospects with him do not look promising as he is apparently bent on taking vengence on someone (literally anyone) for past wrongs he has endured. The film climaxes when a storm strikes and the village O-Shin lives in is flooded and destroyed.
Although at times somewhat a little too detailed and draggy, this is a fascinating look at life in a small 19th century village and a lifestyle (that of the geisha) that has largely faded away in modern times.