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The Eel (1997)

Unagi (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 21 August 1998 (USA)
A businessman kills his adulterous wife and is sent to prison. After the release, he opens a barbershop and meets new people, talking almost to no one except an eel he befriended while in prison.

Director:

Shôhei Imamura
Reviews
16 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kôji Yakusho ... Takuro Yamashita
Misa Shimizu ... Keiko Hattori
Mitsuko Baishô Mitsuko Baishô ... Misako Nakajima
Akira Emoto Akira Emoto ... Tamotsu Takasaki
Fujio Tokita Fujio Tokita ... Jiro Nakajima
Shô Aikawa ... Yuji Nozawa
Ken Kobayashi Ken Kobayashi ... Masaki Saito
Sabu Kawahara Sabu Kawahara ... Seitaro Misato
Etsuko Ichihara Etsuko Ichihara ... Fumie Hattori
Tomorô Taguchi ... Eiji Dojima
Chiho Terada Chiho Terada ... Emiko Yamashita
Shinshô Nakamaru Shinshô Nakamaru
Sei Hiraizumi Sei Hiraizumi
Seiji Kurasaki Seiji Kurasaki
Toshirô Ishidô Toshirô Ishidô
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Storyline

White-collar worker Yamashita finds out that his wife has a lover visiting her when he's away, suddenly returns home and kills her. After eight years in prison, he returns to live in a small village, opens a barber shop (he was trained as a barber in prison) and talks almost to no-one except for the eel he "befriended" in prison. One day he finds the unconscious body of Keiko, who attempted suicide and reminds him of his wife. She starts to work at his shop, but he doesn't let her become close to him. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

21 August 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Eel See more »

Filming Locations:

Sawara, Chiba, Japan See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$29,879, 23 August 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$413,793, 30 May 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Directors Cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Winner of the 1997 Palme D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival tied with another title Taste of Cherry from Iran. See more »

Quotes

Jiro Nakajima: Is it bad to have such rumors about a guy on parole?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Especial Cannes: 50 Anos de Festival (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Abstract drama at it's best!
3 May 2000 | by MOONboySee all my reviews

I tried to spoil my girlfriend, who studies Japanese culture, with a film and it worked! Unagi (the Eal) tells a story of man who commits a 'crime passionelle' by murdering his wife. When he leaves prison the guards bring him 'his' eal. Under supervision of a local priest he tries to live a peaceful peasant-life in a place where nobody knows about his past; he becomes a barber, the eal is his friend ('they never say things you don't like..'). The situation changes when, on instigation of the priest, a girl starts assisting him in his shop. Inevitable his dilemma's come back...

I loved this film for it reminded me much of the films of the Dutch director/producer Alex van Warmerdam; the ordinary, tightly directed up to every detail, the sufficating dilemma's lightly woven thru. Modern drama at it's best!


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