44 user 64 critic

Japón (2002)

R | | Drama | 4 April 2003 (Mexico)
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.


Carlos Reygadas


Carlos Reygadas

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16 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »


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


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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong sexuality, nudity and language | See all certifications »



Mexico | Germany | Netherlands | Spain



Release Date:

4 April 2003 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Japón See more »


Box Office


$250,050 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| | (unrated)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Director Carlos Reygadas financed the initial shoot of $50,000 himself. See more »

Alternate Versions

UK release has 58 seconds (2 scenes of actual animal cruelty) cut out in accordance with the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937. See more »


Featured in Ayacatzintla (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

A good reason for cinema to persist
12 June 2003 | by Mort-31See all my reviews

Japón is not a film about Japan. It is a Mexican film, but not a film about Mexico either. For me, it is something really grand: a film about cinema and why it still exists. The story is rather simple and not at all world-shattering: a man, determined to kill himself, walks into a canyon in order to commit suicide in peace and tranquility. He moves to an old woman's house and, impressed by her attitude to life and somehow inspired by what is going on in the beautiful Nature around him, falls in love with or, or at least unfolds the desire to sleep with her. Telling the rest wouldn't take long but still spoil a lot.

The important thing is not the story (including logical character development) but the way it is told. The movie has the air of grandezza sometimes, it is the opposite of naturalism, but thus it is much more like „reality` than a couple of Dogma-style films. When you are alone in nature, well, what else will you do but admire the wonderful landscape and small events happening therein for a couple of minutes, trying to absorb it as intensely as possible? As a result, there are quite lengthy moments in the film, which might repel some people but that's a pity because it means that they are unable to enjoy the immediate experience of beauty.

In a review I read the author charged Reygardas with being pretentious and cheap, and I guess he referred to the very last shot (which, by the way, could be the most astonishing technical achievement a cinematographer has ever performed!). I understand what he means, and in a way he is right but I find that what we see makes up for this oh so terrible lack of modesty. Seldom have I heard so little noise in a theatre after the last image of a film - it was completely silent (except for one person in the audience who couldn't help applauding). And this experience has confirmed me in two opinions: First, movies are not made for intellectual critics in the first place. And second, cinema will always have a reason to persist. Nothing like a television or DVD set can give you the same feeling as a movie like Japón on the big screen. Of course, there are a lot of films that need the big screen to be worth their money but, as opposed to them, Japón is something really, really great, touching our hearts AND senses AND also (it is not a silly movie!) brains.

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