7.0/10
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Moonlight Serenade (1997)

Setouchi munraito serenade (original title)
Opens with a journalist reporting on the 1997 Kobe earthquake, as he remembers a trip made as a young boy. Then, he and family took a boat trip from Awaji to Beppu in order to bury the ... See full summary »

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4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kyôzô Nagatsuka ...
Koichi / Elder Keita
Hideyuki Kasahara ...
Onda Keita, younger
Jun Toba ...
Koji
...
Fuji
Hinano Yoshikawa ...
Yukiko
Michiko Hada ...
Komachi
Junji Takada ...
Black Marketeer
Toshiya Nagasawa
Sayuri Kawauchi ...
Onda Hideko
Shôhei Hino
Chôichirô Kawarasaki
Akaji Maro
Takashi Tsumura ...
Interpreter
Kimiko Yo ...
Woman Gambler
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Storyline

Opens with a journalist reporting on the 1997 Kobe earthquake, as he remembers a trip made as a young boy. Then, he and family took a boat trip from Awaji to Beppu in order to bury the ashes of his elder brother, killed in the just-ended WWII. The lad spends much of the trip trying to talk his elder brother out of running away. They encounter an array of characters on the journey. Most prominent among them a black marketeer who, like the elder brother, feels that the "new ways" can only benefit him, and work against the boys' father, who is strict and traditional. Written by Sharptongue

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based on novel | See All (1) »

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

15 March 1997 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Moonlight Serenade  »

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Connections

Features Muhomatsu no issho (1943) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent
28 October 2000 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

This movie works well on many levels. The story is gently paced but, after about a fifteen minute warm-up, absorbing and fascinating.

The use of music is first class. From the theme and title source, Glen Miller's Moonlight serenade (emblematic of the US occupation), to the use of Japanese folk songs and popular tunes, the music beautifully counterpoints and complements the story all along.

The lead actors give competent performances. But the support actors are a blast ! Comedian Junji Takada is a delight as the black marketeer. The illegal movie projectionist and his scenes are sheer magic, and the teacher who went mad when his students died as soldiers in the war gives a short but very moving performance.

Also, the film features clips from a wartime Japanese samurai flick "The Rickshaw Man", and "Casablanca".

The film starts off on a serious note, and sustains it, mainly by the device of members of the family carrying their dead kin in a box in a sling, carried at the front of the body. But the mood gently turns to comedy, and manages to be very funny and often charming.

This film is a gem, and is likely to stand up well to repeat viewing.


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