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A Scene at the Sea (1991)

Ano natsu, ichiban shizukana umi (original title)
The lives of a young, hearing-impaired and gloomy couple are fulfilled after the boy holds interest in surfboarding.

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Cast

Cast overview:
Claude Maki ...
Shigeru (as Kurôdo Maki)
Hiroko Ôshima ...
Takako
Sabu Kawahara ...
Takoh
Toshizo Fujiwara ...
Nakajima
Susumu Terajima
Katsuya Koiso
Toshio Matsui
Yasukazu Ishitani
Naomi Kubota
Tsuyoshi Ohwada
Tatsuya Sugimoto
Meijin Serizawa
Tetsu Watanabe
Keiko Kagimoto ...
Surf shop woman
Kengakusha Akiyama
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Storyline

Born with a hearing impairment, Shigeru is a part timer working for the sanitation service. His girlfriend Takako has the same condition as well. On his usual pickup route, Shigeru finds a broken surf-board in a pile of garbage. His introduction to the world of surfing. Shigeru fails in his attempt to catch a wave. Takako looks on as the locals heckle the first time surfer. Un-hindered by the world around them, Shigeru and Takako commute to the beach every day. Impressed by Shigeru's determination, owner of a surf shop hands Shigeru a wet suit and an entry form to a contest. Ironically, Shigeru is disqualified from the contest for missing the announcement. Not to be discouraged, Shigeru's love for surfing consumes everything around him. He is able to fit in with the local crowd and even finish respectably at the second contest. Summer comes to an end and the cold wind starts to blow between Shigeru and Takako... Written by Office Kitano

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

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Details

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Release Date:

19 October 1991 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

A Scene at the Sea  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Connections

Referenced in A Side, B Side, Sea Side (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

Low Key
12 September 2001 | by (Boston, MA) – See all my reviews

Ano Natsu Ichiban Shizukana Umi/A Scene at the Sea(1992) is about a young male deaf-mute who after picking up an old surfboard has ambitions of becoming a champion surfer. Ambition becomes an important theme in this simple and tender romantic comedy. Shigeru unlike Masaki of 3-4x Jugatsu/Boiling Point(1990) wants to do something with his life and has ambitions for something successful. Ambition of a major character in a Takeshi Kitano film plays an essential role in Kids Return(1996).

Moves away from the Yakuza world of Violent Cop(1989) and Boiling Point(1990). Takeshi Kitano is no different from some directors like John Woo or Sam Peckinpah in following up an intense violent film with a charming simple film. Evident that Takeshi Kitano is a versatile filmmaker who's not a one trick pony. A Scene at the Sea(1992) returns to the director's roots as a famed comedian of Japanese television.

Driven not by the surfing portion of the story but by the silent and expressionistic love between Shigeru and another deaf-mute person named Takako(woman). Their love for each other reaches a metaphysical level where words would do little justice in expressing the feelings of love. The expressionistic relationship between Shigeru and Takako resembles the almost silent but touching relationship of Nishi and his wife in Hana-Bi/Fireworks(1997). The feelings of love between Shigeru and Takako seems simple on the surface but is much more confound and complex once the viewer goes deep into the core of the apple.

A Scene at the Scene is a wonderful film because it devoids of the usual cliches that typify the American beach and surf movie. Takeshi Kitano reinvents the American Surf film into something more Japanese and profound. Has none of the annoying aspects that characterize the American surf film. Overlooked as a film by one track minded critics and even mainstream audiences because of its take your time pace and subject.

If it weren't for most of the characters being able to talk then A Scene at the Sea(1992) would be a silent film. The first line of dialogue does not come into play until five minutes into A Scene at the Sea(1992). The Closet Takeshi Kitano has come to making a silent picture(Combines the aspects of the silent and sound pictures). I would enjoy seeing Takeshi Kitano take on a project like a silent film because he could finds ways of reinventing this old style of filmmaking.

Except for one moment there isn't any violence in sight which is unusual for a Kitano feature film. The one violent scene is only brief and is about a minute at best. The only other completely non violent feature Takeshi Kitano has done besides A Scene at the Sea(1992) is the sex comedy, Getting Any(1994). Interested in the peaceful aspects of human behavior instead of its violent counterparts.

Volume three of the Beat Takeshi series and the first without Takeshi Kitano as an actor. Not acting here gives Takeshi Kitano more focus on the directing and editing chores. His acting style is filtered through the acting performances of Kuroudo Maki and Hiroko Oshima. A mature direction with focus on the simplicities of movie making.

A Scene at the Sea(1992) uses the favorite Kitano locations of the beach and the sea more regularly than in any other film by him except Sonatine(1993) and Fireworks(1997). The bulk of the story takes place in beaches or near the sea. The only other filmmaker I can think of who used the beach and the sea as part of his landscapes is Italian filmmaker, Mario Bava. Shigeru is someone who's at home at the beach and feels a sense of personal happiness when working hard to become the best surfer he can be.

The ending was very perplexing when I first saw this movie because of the merger of the past and present. The final two scenes have an air of Alain Resnair with the non linear use of flashback and present imagery. Feels like a moment out of a Alain Resnair film because things cease to make sense and becomes a series of lyrical images. Ano Natsu Ichiban Shizukana Umi/A Scene at the Sea(1992) was the first director-film composer collaboration between Takeshi Kitano and Jo Hisaishi.

Some of the acting method resembles the Antonin Artaud style of acting which is characterized by bodily expressions being more important than words. The silent performances of Kuroudo Miki and Hiroko Oshima are examples in the Artaud idea of metaphysical acting. Like in his work for the theater, two of the characters in A Scene at the Sea(1992) are mute(the plays of Artaud always included someone who doesn't speak with words literally but with visual expression). What gives the acting of the two main characters an Artaud flavor is the reliance of the expression of the senses(Imagery) over the expressions of the mind(words).


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