Near the turbulent end of the Edo era, a man returning to Japan after exile in America searches for his wife and becomes swept up in the current of revolution in this incisive period drama from the great Shohei Imamura.
In a poor 19th century rural Japanese village, everyone who reaches the age of 70 has to climb a nearby mountain to die. An old woman is getting close to the cut-off age, and we follow her last days with her family.
An impossible tale. Taro, an old man who dies homeless in Tokyo has told Yosuke, a weak-willed out-of-work salaryman about a golden statue that he left years ago in a house by the sea in Noto. Yosuke goes and he's captivated by Saeko, a young women who lives in the house where Taro left the statue. She has a strange affliction: water builds up in her and she can only vent it by wicked acts, such as shoplifting, or, more powerfully, through orgasm. Yosuke obliges, the water gives him life, as well as the plants and fish it reaches. Saeko feels shame, and she has a past. Taro's ghost urges Yosuke to fulfill his desires, but can the relationship survive?Written by
I was eager to see WARM WATER UNDER A RED BRIDGE - from the description on the back of the DVD I wasn't really expecting this to be THE EEL or BLACK RAIN but if it's junk, it is very well-crafted junk. The story (well commented upon below) is quirky/kinky and provocative, which is well-handled, and a few scenes were hilarious. The cinematography is beautiful - Imamura's films always have a very striking look, and on this front this film doesn't disappoint. WARM WATER... has a strong 'magic realist' quality - more than anything it reminded me a bit of some of Gabriel Garcia-Marquez' novels (if only Imamura had stuck in a failed insurgency or a grandmother floating into the sky). I didn't always know what to make of it - the mix of realism, quirkiness, kink, cuteness, humor, small-town mundanity and erotic strangeness all taken at once made me wonder what if anything Imamura might be trying to say (aside from the fact that reality can be strange and life doesn't fit so neatly into compartments). So - no masterpiece, but fans of Imamura won't want to miss it.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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