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Black Rain (1989)

Kuroi ame (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 17 September 1989 (USA)
The story of the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing, based on Masuji Ibuse's novel.

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Writers:

(novel), | 1 more credit »
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26 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Yoshiko Tanaka ...
Yasuko
Kazuo Kitamura ...
Shigematsu Shizuma
Etsuko Ichihara ...
Shigeko Shizuma
Shôichi Ozawa ...
Shokichi
Norihei Miki ...
Kotaro
Keisuke Ishida ...
Yuichi
Hisako Hara ...
Kin
Masato Yamada ...
Tatsu
Tamaki Sawa ...
Woman in Ikemoto-ya
Akiji Kobayashi ...
Katayama
Kazuko Shirakawa ...
Old Woman with white flag
Kenjirô Ishimaru ...
Aono
Mayumi Tateichi ...
Fumiko of Ikemoto-ya
Taiji Tonoyama ...
The Old Priest
Fujio Tokita ...
40 Year Old Woman with burns
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Storyline

Mr and Mrs Shizuma, and their niece Yasuko, make their way through the ruins of Hiroshima, just after the atomic bomb has dropped. Five years later, Yasuko is living with her aunt and uncle, and her senile grandmother, in a village containing many of the bomb survivors. Yasuko does not appear to be affected by the bomb, but the Shizuma's are worried about her marriage prospects, as she could succumb to radiation sickness at any time. Written by Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 September 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Black Rain  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Yoshiko Tanaka, the cast were forbidden by the director to leave the village they were filming in to return to Tokyo, even if they had a day off, because Imamura did not wish for them to then return to the location having experienced again the comfort and ease present-day of city life. See more »

Quotes

Shigematsu Shizuma: "An unjust peace is better than a just war." It's important to note that this is said cynically.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Black Rain (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"The Bomb finally got me"
19 September 2010 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

"The Bomb finally got me" is a phrase used in the film by the survivors of Hiroshima as they succumb to radiation sickness years later. Americans prefer their stories of historic disaster, Titanic or Pearl Harbour, to lead towards catastrophe, to build up to it and give it final word as though it's the main attraction. Shohei Imamura opens Black Rain on the fateful 6th of August 1945, it gave me chills to read that title because as a Japanese professor hurries on his way to the train station one can imagine the engines of Enola Gay whirring a few thousand feet above in the air, and probably a clicking noise which no one can hear and now the plane's hatch opens to drop Little Boy, and the professor looks at a clock in the train station and doesn't even have a way to know that life as he knows it will be over in approximately 45 seconds.

Imamura gets over with destruction in the first reel, but he doesn't get over with death, because this is a movie that takes place in 1950, five years after the Bomb razed Hiroshima to the ground, and the Bomb still looms heavy over everyone's life, like something dark foreboding and inescapable that you can see with the corner of the eye even if you close your eyes, and Imamura's quiet domestical drama takes place in the shadow of all that so that life and death don't happen in one final furious upflare of heartbreaking disaster but in spite of it, in dogged defiance, on a bed in a quiet farmhouse in the countryside as though what happened five years before was only a bad dream.

I read a review that said Black Rain shows Imamura's apprenticeship to Yasujiro Ozu like no other of his films, and that may be true, for the most part this is a quiet provincial drama about an uncle trying to marry his young niece to anyone who may have her while prospective grooms flee at the idea that she may be sick with radiation after her exposure to the black rain. But then Imamura cuts to flashbacks of a city in flames, cauterized victims of the blast staggering around blind, crazed by pain and automaton-like, skin melting off their bodies, faces deformed. It's a chilling monstrous sight of hell on earth, and it's amazing to me how restrained is Imamura, in both depicting carnage and evoking sympathy for the survivors, the sick and the mad, who must go on with their lives.

For people who have seen and loved Come and See, this should be an interesting counterpoint. In that film Elem Klimov doesn't spare us any details, wherever he can find atrocity he's there to show us; Imamura on the other hand shows us the tragedy of war for a moment and then lifts it from our eyes, as to the survivors, literally to inhabit the memory. This is life after death.


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