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
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.
The film had very little plot to actually engross the viewer. Also the cinematography made it difficult to watch. The director used very poor lighting and constant long shots, making it very difficult to see details in the characters' interactions or the settings used. There were also several scenes where the white subtitles were invisible over white or very light backgrounds - a pet peeve of mine when watching subtitled films.
I confess that half-way through the film I gave up trying to be interested and did something more worthwhile (anything really). My girlfriend endured, insisting that it could only get better. An hour later she screamed "That's all!?!" She was envious of me for bailing out when I did.
I cannot give it five stars, because while this movie has a daring vision that builds power over time, it's difficult
for American audience to relate fully to what amounts to
a slide show, albeit an incredibly artistic one.
Contrast this film with "Red Soghum", which is a virtuoso depiction of the true essence of the Chinese culture.
For those who are fed up with the increasingly formulaic
excuse of a movie from Hollywood, try these two gems,
which actually require you to use your brain to analyze and comprehend.
I guess I should appreciate the movie for its artistiuc merit but there are certain things about it that bothered me.
For instance the lack of dialogue, lighting and camera shots made it very difficult for me to keep my eyes open.
At one point in the film, for some reason the widow is depicted cleaning stair steps for a good 1-2 minutes. Scenes like that spoiled the movie for me by making it very dull.
Its not that I'm some spoiled American who only likes watching action movies.
If you are looking to view a more interesting film try "Eel" or "Kikujiro"
I just don't feel that this movie is for everyone. It certainly was not for me.
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 ›
Most recent customer reviews
If one is familiar with Kore-eda's later film _After Life_ one already knows that death and memory play key parts in his films. Read morePublished on June 18 2004 by Daitokuji31
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
This is an honest movie. To me, it's about dealing with tragedies in our lives. The story it tells is about trying to understand why things happen that are full of sadness. Read morePublished on Sept. 15 2003 by Paul Date
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 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
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