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The Mourning Forest (2007)
"Mogari no mori" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  23 June 2007 (Japan)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,558 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 28 critic

A care-giver at a small retirement home takes one of her patients for a drive to the country, but the two wind up stranded in a forest where they embark on an exhausting and enlightening two-day journey.

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Title: The Mourning Forest (2007)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Yôichirô Saitô ...
Machiko's husband
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kanako Masuda ...
Mako
Machiko Ono ...
Machiko
Shigeki Uda ...
Shigeki
...
Wakako
Yûsei Yamamoto
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Storyline

A care-giver at a small retirement home takes one of her patients for a drive to the country, but the two wind up stranded in a forest where they embark on an exhausting and enlightening two-day journey.

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23 June 2007 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Der Wald der Trauer  »

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User Reviews

 
Gaijin-san sure like strange movies
7 May 2008 | by (Tokyo / Toronto) – See all my reviews

This movie won the Grand Prize in Cannes Film Festival. I didn't get it, as usual.

"Discovering your true identity through a journey" is in fact my favorite theme for movies, and this film at first seemed very promising with interesting characters and beautiful sceneries of the forest. However, as the movie progressed, I became more and more confused. I'm sure this is one of those movies that's supposed to make you think, but way too little information was given even for audience to use their imagination.

I actually went back to read the plot synopsis after I finished watching the film (all confused), and realized for the first time the nurse had previously lost her child. There was a scene where an unknown man saying it's all your fault. Now that I think of it, he is probably her ex-husband blaming her for the dead child. No matter how you think about it, any movie that requires the audience to read plot synopsis to understand the plot is unacceptable as a film. There were many other things in this film that was just outright puzzling, but the movie ended without even attempting to explain any of it. I absolutely did not connect with any of the characters. While this film had an extremely beautiful cinematography, that alone is not enough to make it a great film as a whole. The screen also shook far too much. I understand this director used to be a documentary filmmaker, but that is totally unnecessary for a feature-length film.

I actually really liked the female lead actress Ono Machiko, but the male lead had too much age difference that I just couldn't see them as a couple. That "campfire" scene was completely incomprehensible for me.

It's very well-known that Japanese films that win prizes in Cannes rarely fit the typical Japanese tastes. I guess movies, especially at film festivals are considered to be art, so perhaps truly amazing works are not meant to be understood by an average viewer like me. Or maybe Western audiences simply see the Japanese as a mysterious group of people, and liked the mysterious couple in this film behaving erratically in the enigmatic forest.

This film, like many other Japanese Cannes prize-winners, had disastrous user review ratings in Japanese movie sites. I really need to start heeding their advice and not expect too much from these movies.


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