The Yagyu family's elder son sends an old and cheap looking pot to his young brother, ignoring that the pot contains a map showing where it was hidden a treasure of a million ryo. He tries ... See full summary »
Mr. Thank You is the kindly young driver of a local bus traveling from poverty stricken coastal villages, over the mountains, to the town. He thanks everybody when they let his bus pass on ... See full summary »
Yukinojo, a Kabuki actor, seeks revenge by destroying the three men who caused the deaths of his parents. Also involved are the daughter of one of Yukinojo's targets, two master thieves, and a swordsman who himself is out to kill Yukinojo.
A sendup of the stereo-typical Japanese family: dad is a salaryman jerk, unable to relate to anyone; mom is a hopeless housewife; the older son is a moderate academic success; but the ... See full summary »
Set in the last few years of the shogun's rule, this period/ensemble movie depicts the lives of the young and the restless at a whorehouse. The protagonist is Saheiji, a resourceful, witty ... See full summary »
Although the script is based on a Kabuki story 'Shinza the barber,' the archaic atmosphere of the original story is seen nowhere in this movie. As in his earlier 'Kochiyama Soshun,' the director turned both saints and criminals into mundane figures absorbed in the petty concerns. I think this is the beauty of the movie. The characters are more rational and feisty than ordinary viewers expect. They are all looking in the different directions, which reminded me of the 'Cherry Orchard' by Chekhov.
Honestly, the last 15 minutes of this movie disappointed me a little. The last scenes of earlier 'Kochiyama Soshun' is, I think, one of the miracles in cinema history. But 'Humanity and Paper Balloon' lacked such a formidable climax. So I was a little disappointed. But an hour after watching it, I started to feel terrified of the ending. Maybe the humble description of the forlorn wife was the reason for it. That character didn't get my attention so much while I was watching it. But now I keep thinking about that character. I'm haunted.
I like the director's dry realism. He depicted the poverty-stricken alley as such and nothing else. To be sure, it must be depressing to be among the least fortunate in the monetary economy. In addition to dependency on others and proximity to crimes, uncomfortable alienation from the neighbors is as likely to happen among the poor as among the better off. I know that it is commonplace to interpret the pessimistic undertone of the movie as influenced by the then social conditions. But, besides that, the depiction of pessimistic poverty has an aesthetic advantage in itself.
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