7.4/10
453
2 user 6 critic

Yôkame no semi (2011)

After the collapse of their relationship, Kiwako abducts the 6-month old child of a man she was having an affair with. Raising the child as her own, it is four years before the authorities catch up with her and the young child.

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(serial story "Yôkame no semi"), (screenplay)
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13 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Hiromi Nagasaku ...
Kiwako Nonomiya / Rutsu
Mao Inoue ...
Erina Akiyama
Eiko Koike ...
Chigusa Ando
Konomi Watanabe ...
Kaoru / Erina Akiyama / Ribeka
Yôko Moriguchi ...
Etsuko Akiyama
Tetsushi Tanaka ...
Takehiro Akiyama
Jun Fubuki ...
Masae Sawada
Gekidan Hitori ...
Takashi Kishida
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Yô Yoshida
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Storyline

After the collapse of their relationship, Kiwako abducts the 6-month old child of a man she was having an affair with. Raising the child as her own, it is four years before the authorities catch up with her and the young child.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

29 April 2011 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Rebirth  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
psychological drama at its best
9 September 2012 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

While 'Rebirth' - or 'The Eighth-Day Cicada', if translated directly from the Japanese - was an enormous critical success in Japan, raking in 11 wins at the 2012 Japan Academy Awards, it has so far received little attention outside of the country. The reason may be its extraordinarily slow pace, and a content that could be interpreted as very domestic.

The story itself is quickly summarized: a woman abducts the baby of the man she's been having an affair with; he had previously convinced her of having an abortion, in the process of which she lost her fertility. His wife, catching wind of the affair, confronts her with her own pregnancy, mocking her barren state with a cruel metaphor that resurfaces at various points in the movie. So initially the abduction appears to be motivated by revenge, but right from the introductory court hearing it is clear that the reasons go far beyond that. The main story is about the adult child, now herself pregnant with a married man's child, and set to discover the link between her present and her past. The Japanese title is frequently referenced as the fact of cicadas nestling in the ground for years, only to die seven days after hatching - it is the mystery of this film to make sense of what the 'Eighth Day Cicada' might be, a mystery not resolved until the final climatic, yet perfectly still, sequence.

What makes this indeed one of the best Japanese films of late are, next to a wonderful script and flawless photography to go with it, the female performances. Hiromi Nagasaku, a prolific TV actress whom I haven't seen in a lead before, gets an incredible amount of close-ups for her role of the abductress, and therefore the chance to convey the development of her character almost exclusively through facial expression. This asks for a lot of patience at times, but as the story grows on the spectator, it is actually a very skillful plot device by director Izuru Narushima, whose most famous film so far is probably 'Fly Daddy fly" (2005). While Mao Inoue (another TV actress so far) expresses her character of the grown-up child with expressions of void, reservation, calm aggression, Hiromi Nagasaku's character frets, suffers, fears. Yet in the course of the film, the two women who never meet become more and more alike in their situation, isolation, weakness.

In short, this is a top-notch character-driven drama and one of the best women-themed films I've ever seen: mysterious yet simple, emotional yet calm, sometimes agonizing, often serene, extremely mature, yet always comprehensible.


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