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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 2,258 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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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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Details

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Release Date:

21 March 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Illusion  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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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

 
Rethinking the art of the camera

I was fortunate to see Maborosi on a large screen at the Joslyn Art Museum. The venue was appropriate, for this film stands as one of the great achievements of the cinema. Indeed, I will go out on a long limb and argue that it deserves comparison to Carl Theodor Dreyer's Passion of St. Joan of Arc. Light, shadow, angle: in my experience these two films apply the most basic elements of cinematography in a most remarkable and brilliant fashion.

Maborosi opens with an astonishing shot, as the viewer looks up from one end of an arching bridge to see a young child following an old woman. The shot is meticulously framed by light posts, giving the impression of a picture on canvas. The camera remains still while the two actors proceed through the scene. The director's brilliant eye for placing everything "just right" immediately catches one's attention. It is a virtuoso shot; and then one's amazement grows as scene after scene continues with no drop off in the careful, artful composition of each image. After awhile, the viewer may become conscious of the camera: it does not move. As each scene commences, the activity occurs within a new, steady frame. I think that the camera moves during a scene only three times in the film, and then only in side-to-side pans. However, I was so enthralled with the film I may easily have overlooked some motion.

The story, concerning a young women's travail in overcoming the grief of her suicided husband, plays out quietly and slowly. The actors speak sparingly, and emotions are primarily portrayed through facial and bodily expression. The impact is large and plumbs depths. If a film like this were made in Hollywood--an utterly absurd idea--I'm sure the characters would be babbling on at each other. Maborosi explores the virtues of silence, patience, and careful attention: behaviors which are not widely cultivated in contemporary cinema, or in contemporary society for that matter.

Maborosi is a film to captivate those who want to see cinema which strives to be more than mere entertainment. It is in every sense an "art film," but in my mind it stands as one of those very rare films which emphasize the artful without a hint of the self-conscious and annoying artsy. A monumental achievement.




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