Maborosi (Japan, 1995)

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Maborosi (Japan, 1995)

Postby Johndav » Thu Mar 23, 2006 8:39 am

MABOROSI (Maboroshi no Hikari)

Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Cast: Makikio Esumi, Takshi Naito, Tadanobu Asano, Goki Kashiyama

JAPAN. 1995. 109 Mins. Colour

The debut feature of Hirokazu Kore-eda (one-time documentarist + director of the widely admired "Afterlife" and "Nobody Knows") is one of a small, precious number of films for which i have felt lovesick. Maborosi's story is superficially simple: affected by the death of her grandmother and her husband's inexplicable suicide, a young Tokyo woman starts new married life, along with her son, in a remote seaside fishing village, but finds the past continues to trouble her. Eschewing close-ups,the narrative draws the viewer in gradually, so that, as Tony Rayns says, intimacy is earned, not frivolously given. It is haunted throughout by a dark, almost overwhelming sense of mystery. The film's masterfully controlled mise-en-scene, contemplative pacing, 'off-screen space' and quiet investment of objects (a bike, a teapot, a wisp of steam...) with both beauty and meaning, all recall Yasujiro Ozu and Hou Hsiao-Hsien. Its lighting is refined, at times, to the point of abstraction, while Masao Nakabori's photography is utterly, immeasurably exquisite. It is another treasure from the land of Mizoguchi, the isles of cinematic wonders. But Maborosi is not best served by hyperbole. It is an unassertive film, too shy, too pure and concentrated to seek the limelight. While compelled to tell of its elusive magic, I protectively fear its over-exposure. In publicising, am I breaking faith? It connects in secret. With the heart that is ready.

Re: Maborosi (Japan, 1995)

Postby A » Sun Apr 23, 2006 11:48 pm

I found it disappointing when i saw it first in cinema, but it still keeps growing in my memory. I think your comment notices its slippery. You really have to invest in it, but it pays off. Many of the films images have remained burned-in in my mind.
A huge recommendation for anyone who has ever had to deal with the loss of a loved person - and that (eventually) means everybody.

Re: Maborosi (Japan, 1995)

Postby trevor826 » Sun Jul 22, 2007 6:39 pm

Originally posted in 2005, transferred from the Japanese Journals thread.

Maboroshi no hikari (1995) Maborosi

Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda

Starring Makiko Esumi, Tadanobu Asano, Takashi Nait

A hauntingly beautiful and meaningful piece of melancholic film making, the following comments contain *spoilers* so please be aware.

Yumiko and Ikuo live in Osaka, they have what appears to be a happy marriage and a 3 month old son. Why then did Ikuo head of for work as normal one day and end up committing suicide? This question is carried through the whole film by Yumiko, not as a verbal question but as a burden hanging over the life she shares with her baby Yuichi and 5 years later the question that still hangs over her head in her new marriage.

Tamaio, her new husband lives in a small fishing community with his young daughter and his ageing father, the atmosphere is totally different from her former life in Osaka with the constant sound of the sea, shifting and listless, conveying the way she feels.

How can you comprehend the feeling such a devastating blow would have on your life, Yumiko cannot cope with the not knowing, the why? Little things constantly remind her of the love they shared, the ring of a bicycle bell, even just the sight of a bicycle is enough to evoke once happy memories. Her new husband (who has lost his wife although we never find out how) tries to include her in his life and within the small fishing community she has moved into but the fragility of life is constantly highlighted.

The only moments of true happiness come from the interaction of the children, luckily they get on fine together and wander off on their own little adventures exploring outside of the little town, the colour palette lifts lighting up the natural beauty of the area but Tamios house feels heavy, gloomy and melancholy pushing the emphasis back to the burden of grief and the quest to try and comprehend.

A visit back to Osaka for her brothers wedding doesnt help, memories come flooding back and Yumiko finds out more about the events of the day her husband died but no answer or reasoning for his actions.

The title is explained during the film and in some way offers a respite to the heaviness, its not all doom and gloom though, there are light moments between Yumiko and Ikuo and also between Yumiko and Tamaio, the acting on all counts is superlative, there is little in the way of dialogue but every emotion is felt especially with Yumiko, every movement carries her thoughts, feelings and reflections.

The film is about death from the point of view of the living, those affected by the unheralded death of someone close, it is a magnificent essay of human emotion and in my eyes is a must see film, I guess Ive watched it at least 4 or 5 times now and each time is like watching it anew.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated PG.

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