IMDb > Maborosi (1995)
Maboroshi no hikari
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Maborosi (1995) More at IMDbPro »Maboroshi no hikari (original title)

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Up 49% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Teru Miyamoto (novel)
Yoshihisa Ogita (screenplay)
View company contact information for Maborosi on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
21 March 1997 (USA) See more »
A young woman's husband apparently commits suicide without warning or reason, leaving behind his wife and infant. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
9 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Full, full, full of painterly light See more (38 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Makiko Esumi ... Yumiko
Takashi Naitô ... Tamio

Tadanobu Asano ... 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 Ôsugi ... Hiroshi, Yumiko's Father
Kikuko Hashimoto ... Kiyo, Yumiko's Grandmother
Shuichi Harada ... Cop
Takashi Inoue ... Driver

Sayaka Yoshino ... Yumiko as a Young Girl

Directed by
Hirokazu Koreeda 
Writing credits
Teru Miyamoto (novel)

Yoshihisa Ogita (screenplay)

Produced by
Naoe Gôzu .... producer
Chikako Nakabayashi .... assistant producer
Takashi Sakurai .... assistant producer
Yutaka Shigenobu .... executive producer
Original Music by
Ming-chang Chen 
Cinematography by
Masao Nakabori 
Film Editing by
Tomoyo Oshima 
Production Design by
Kyôko Heya 
Art Direction by
Kyôko Heya 
Set Decoration by
Yoshihito Akatsuka 
Costume Design by
Michiko Kitamura 
Makeup Department
Yukiko Nishio .... hair stylist
Yukiko Nishio .... makeup artist
Production Management
Motoki Ishida .... production staff
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Akira Hibino .... assistant director
Akira Morii .... assistant director
Iwao Takahashi .... assistant director
Art Department
Masato Inatsuke .... assistant art director
Junko Nakajima .... assistant set decorator
Takayuki Satô .... assistant set decorator
Sound Department
Kenichi Fujimoto .... sound recordist
Hideyo Sasaki .... sound effects editor
Hitoshi Tsurumaki .... sound recordist
Takashi Watanabe .... sound recordist
Masatoshi Yokomizo .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Tomotaka Hayakawa .... assistant photographer
Atsushi Kawabe .... assistant photographer
Yasushi Kawasaki .... assistant camera
Mitsuo Kojima .... assistant camera
Fumio Maruyama .... gaffer
Masao Okamura .... still photographer
Takeo Saka .... still photographer
Tooru Yamamoto .... assistant photographer
Kunio Ôshio .... assistant camera
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Sayuri Iizuka .... assistant costume designer
Sumiko Kobayashi .... assistant costume designer
Editorial Department
Takashi Moriyoshi .... color timer
Ryûsuke Ôtsubo .... negative cutter
Other crew
Joyce Pierpoline .... publicist

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Maboroshi no hikari" - Japan (original title)
"Illusion" - USA (festival title)
See more »
110 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Was released on DVD in France in 2010, 11 years after its 1999 theatrical release in the country.See more »
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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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
Full, full, full of painterly light, 5 February 2001
Author: theorbys from new york city

Steeped in the traditions of the lush visual beauties of Japanese cinema, and influenced by the likes of Taiwanese (?) director Hsiao Hsien Hou (I believe there are several fairly direct quotes) or the luminous cinematography of Bergman's long time cameraman, Sven Nykvist. This film directly mines the visual effects of some of the most glorious European painters of light like Vermeer, Caravaggio, and Georges de la Tour. From the subtitles it seems that MABOROSI means 'strange light' and Kore eda uses almost nothing but strange, rich luminosity to tell his story (although he also gets a fine, somber perfomance from his female lead). Each shot is deeply thought out and composed to the maximum. Literally, every single shot. The results are tranquil and beautiful. The story is as quiet as the light, and probably if you require your film to have a strong direct narrative you should stay away from this as the story is told very subtly using light and almost subliminal sound (it seemed to me there were ocean waves in the sub background even in the city shots, for example). It works great as cinema. I would suggest that you watch at least the first 20 minutes or so again, after watching the whole film. The same motifs cross and criss cross all through the film and it really builds a wonderful texture.

I would recommend this as a double bill with something like the Actor's Revenge by Ichikawa- also deeply steeped in lush visual beauties and light. Or else Angel Dust by Sogo Ishii-a very opposite film full of passion, madness and violence, but where you see that meticulous, relentless search for supercomposition on almost a frame for frame basis. Or lastly, the tranquil, and beautiful, and very painterly Why Has Bodhidharma Left For The East- a Korean film by Bae Yong Kyun and something of a successful Zen meditation. Well one more, Mystery of Rampo-by Kazuyoshi Okuyama- very offbeat with bewitchingly lush visual beauty. (Rampo is Japanese for Edgar Allen Poe and the first Japanese mystery writer adopted Rampo as his nom de plume)

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