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Maborosi (1995)
"Maboroshi no hikari" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  21 March 1997 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 2,187 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 35 critic

A young woman's husband apparently commits suicide without warning or reason, leaving behind his wife and infant. Yumiko remarries and moves from Osaka to a small fishing village, yet ... See full summary »

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Title: Maborosi (1995)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Makiko Esumi ...
Yumiko
Takashi Naitô ...
Tamio
...
Ikuo
Gohki Kashiyama ...
Yuichi
Naomi Watanabe ...
Tomoko
Midori Kiuchi ...
Michiko
Akira Emoto ...
Yoshihiro
Mutsuko Sakura ...
Tomeno
Hidekazu Akai ...
Master
Hiromi Ichida ...
Hatsuko
Minori Terada ...
Detective
Ren Ohsugi ...
Hiroshi, Yumiko's Father
Kikuko Hashimoto ...
Kiyo, Yumiko's Grandmother
Shuichi Harada ...
Cop
Takashi Inoue ...
Driver
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Storyline

A young woman's husband apparently commits suicide without warning or reason, leaving behind his wife and infant. Yumiko remarries and moves from Osaka to a small fishing village, yet continues to search for meaning in a lonely world. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

21 March 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Illusion  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was released on DVD in France in 2010, 11 years after its 1999 theatrical release in the country. See more »

Quotes

Yumiko: [Recalling her first husband's unexplained suicide] I just... I just don't understand! Why did he kill himself? Why was he walking along the tracks? It just goes around and around in my head. Why do you think he did it?
Tamio: [after giving it some thought] The sea has the power to beguile. Back when dad was fishing, he once saw a maborosi - a strange light - far out to sea. Something in it was beckoning to him, he said... It happens to all of us.
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User Reviews

 
Worth loving, worth hating. ...but is it worth 2 hours of your time?
31 March 2009 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Wow, there are some pretty extreme reviews of this film. I've read both the LOVED ITs and the HATED ITs, and I agree with both. So what's the deal? Is this the best film ever, or should it be used as a torture device at Guantanamo Bay?

All I can say is that I experienced moments of both extremes, but in the end I was unsatisfied. It begins provocatively with an interesting flashback, told very poetically through high contrast shots with deep perspective. This sets the tone very nicely and even manages to inject some suspense into the film. But the movie's downfall is excessive, gratuitous repetition in the hours that follow.

The plot develops suddenly within the first 30 mins or so. From then on, don't expect much of a story because the rest is a highly impressionistic mood-type piece with little dialogue and less action. That's not necessarily a bad thing; directors like Ming-liang Tsai (THE HOLE) have pulled it off successfully, but what irked me in this case was the gratuitous repetition. Yes, I know I said "gratuitous repetition" already. Good to see you're paying attention ;)

I counted 5 scenes (long ones) of the heroine sitting in a dark room staring out a window with a ghostly light illuminating her face. It was stirring the first time, but after a few more times it's simply redundant & anticlimactic. Another great image--used powerfully at first but losing its charm after the 3rd or 4th beating over the head--is a far shot of a body of water where our eye is drawn to the reflections of people on the surface. OK, Koreeda, we get the picture; the film is about the contrast between shadows and bright light, reality and deceptive illusion, that which we do not understand vs. that which we *think* we understand. If it were presented more concisely, I would have loved it. But did he really require 2 hours to say it? And if so, could he not have explored it more deeply, rather than leaving us with a somewhat shallow climactic monologue at the end? (I call it a 'monologue', but actually it's only 2 or 3 sentences which summarize the whole point of the film.)

In the end, my impression of MABOROSHI is much like my impression of Koreeda's later film AFTER LIFE (which I think is much better than this); the philosophy is very interesting, there are certain poetic moments that will captivate you, but when the film is over you get the feeling that you've just read a haiku. Nothing more.


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