Director: Yoichi Sai
Cast: Takeshi Kitano, Hirofumi Arai, Tomoko Tabata
This film is Japans submission to Oscar 2006.
In Japan, it has garnered numerous Japanese Academy awards and Kinema Junpo awards.
It is based on a prize winning semi-autobiographical novel by Yan Sogiru (Yang Sok Gil)
For more info (with trailers, awards, etc)
At the London Film Festival
(i) I know many people are going to watch it mainly for Kitano ... but what really struck me was how realistic the film looked the rape and violence seemed so raw, genuine and elaborate that one just did not know to feel haunting?! depressing?! anguish?! ... in particular, I am unsure how females would feel after watching the film
Apart from these brutal scenes, two of the food scenes might not be easily palatable either (i.e., for some people),
* minor spoiler *
i.e., the scene depicting the slaughtering of a pig
i.e., the eating of meat with maggots
(ii) Now, to what everybody is talking about ... Kitano ... Yes, he is very convincing as the "villain" ... While some people will totally hate him, the film did portray his vulnerability and isolation as well (to gain sympathy?!) ... but some people might find it difficult to fully comprehend what drove him to behave in such extreme ways in other words, the film left much of the inference, explanation or justification to the audience themselves (either from events and actions featured or knowledge audience might have gained from experience, hearing, reading, understanding of another culture, etc) ... So, it is not surprising that some people might be unable to relate with the various characters/events ... e.g., those who cannot grasp the notion of male "tyranny" or female "submissiveness" (esp. in the olden days)
Noteworthy, I think besides Kitano, the entire cast (esp. adult cast) did help to carry the film through ...
(iii) By the way, the film is NOT just about the relationship between the narrator and the father ... but is filled with many events occurring over a period of 60 years so, while watching a film about a main character (i.e., the father), it also feels like watching an epic story (about a family) hence, characters are plentiful and relationships are complicated ...
although marketed (often) as a story about Koreans living in Japan, I thought it told of a more "universal" story, i.e., it could happen to any household in any country ... unfortunately, issues related to Koreans living in Japan had to be largely "inferred", i.e., audience who did not have prior knowledge about the history of World War 2 or communism or the economic difference between Koreans in Japan and Japanese in Japan might have problems understanding some of the scenes/events that happened in the film
Highly recommended but be prepared for the tons of violence that are very realistic and credible and expectedly, a very depressing story
PS: It is unfortunate that some audience laughed at the wrong parts