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Japón
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Japan (2002) More at IMDbPro »Japón (original title)

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Overview

User Rating:
6.8/10   2,280 votes »
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Release Date:
2 October 2002 (Belgium) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
A painter from the big city goes to a remote canyon to commit suicide. To reach some calmness, he stays at the farmstead of Ascen, an old, religious woman. Although but a few words are spoken, love grows. | Add synopsis »
Awards:
16 wins & 8 nominations See more »
NewsDesk:
(10 articles)
User Reviews:
Explores issues of man's loneliness See more (44 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)
Alejandro Ferretis ... The man
Magdalena Flores ... Ascen
Yolanda Villa ... Sabina
Martín Serrano ... Juan Luis
Rolando Hernández ... The judge
Bernabe Pérez ... The singer
Fernando Benítez ... Fernando
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Carlo Reygadas Barquín ... The hunter

Directed by
Carlos Reygadas 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Carlos Reygadas 

Produced by
Carlos Reygadas .... producer
Jaime Romandia .... co-producer
Carlos Serrano Azcona .... associate producer
Gerardo Tagle .... line producer
 
Cinematography by
Diego Martínez Vignatti 
Thierry Tronchet 
 
Film Editing by
Daniel Melguizo 
Carlos Serrano Azcona 
David Torres 
 
Production Design by
Elsa Díaz 
Alejandro Reygadas 
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Alex Ezpeleta .... second assistant director
Bertrand Roland .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Gilles Laurent .... sound
Jorge Lerner .... sound re-recording mixer
Ramón Moreira .... sound
Ricardo Viñas .... dolby sound consultant
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Jackson Elizondo .... gaffer
Diego Martínez Vignatti .... camera operator
Thierry Tronchet .... chief camera operator
 
Other crew
Rubio Marco .... production assistant
 
Thanks
Arvo Pärt .... special thanks
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Japón" - Mexico (original title)
See more »
MPAA:
Rated R for some strong sexuality, nudity and language (cut)
Runtime:
130 min | Argentina:132 min | Canada:122 min (Toronto International Film Festival) | Netherlands:143 min | USA:122 min | UK:133 min | USA:128 min (unrated version)
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
2.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Director Carlos Reygadas financed the initial shoot of $50,000 himself.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Ayacatzintla (2003)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
30 out of 38 people found the following review useful.
Explores issues of man's loneliness, 20 December 2004
Author: Howard Schumann from Vancouver, B.C.

Japon, a film by first-time director Carlos Reygadas, is a sensual meditation on death and the possibility of transformation in which a gaunt middle-aged man comes to a remote Mexican village with the stated purpose of killing himself. We are given no information as to his name or background except that we later surmise that he is a painter who has come from the city to seek solitude for his final act of self-abnegation. The man with no name and no past is the quintessential existential anti-hero, a character that could easily have wandered in from a Wim Wenders movie or a novel by Albert Camus.

Reygadas has said that he admires spectators who go to the movies to experience life, not to forget about it. In Japon, Reygadas largely succeeds in engaging those who wish not to forget, showing nature in all its ragged beauty. His images of an unseen pig crying out as it being slaughtered, horses copulating while children laugh, and a bird being decapitated push viewers out of their comfort zone and challenge us to engage life at a deeper, more honest level, similar to the work of Bruno Dumont. Though I found parts of the film to be abrasive, I was pulled in by the stark beauty of the desert landscapes, the authenticity of its non-professional actors, and its willingness to explore issues of man's loneliness and relationship to the natural world.

After an opening sequence on the freeway that, in its drone of dehumanized images, pays homage to Tarkovsky's Solaris, a tall man (nameless) with a weather-beaten face played by the late Alejandro Ferretis makes his way down the canyon to a small village in a remote part of Mexico. Limping with the aid of a cane, he tells a man offering directions to the canyon floor that his purpose in going to the remote village is to commit suicide. The man shrugs and tells him to get into the van. Since there are no hotels in the area, he is offered lodging in a barn close to an old woman's shack. The woman is named Ascen, short for Ascension which she says refers to Christ ascending into heaven without help.

Japon is a work of mood and atmosphere; the director's static takes and long periods of silence achieve a tone of somber intensity. Ascen, remarkably played by 79-year old Magdalena Flores, is generous and loving, leaving her house guest confused and not sure that he knows what he wants. He fails at a suicide attempt and then settles in to the routine of living in the desert. He drinks Mescal and gets drunk in the village, smokes marijuana (offering some to the old lady), and masturbates while dreaming of a beautiful woman on the beach. It is only when Ascen's son-in-law attempts to cheat her out of her house that he comes alive and asks a strange favor of Ascen that made me decidedly uncomfortable.

Little by little the depressed man seems to be engaging more in life and connecting with the people around him. Japon uses an amazing seven-minute circular tracking that employs both natural sound and the sublime music of Arvo Part's Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten to end the film on a note of transcendence. Although Japon is at times vague in its delineation of character and feels derivative of Kiarostami and Tarkovsky, it is a promising first effort and I am eager to follow this audacious director's career.

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Message Boards

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Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Anyone agree? Tanquian
ES MALISIMA aciago
Andrei Tarkovsky meets Robert Bresson who also meets Abbas Kiarostami gracielacervantes
Modestly passable film with a deceptive title. woebagge
Content? joet1999
the title evrimk
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