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11 user 36 critic

Mogari no mori (2007)

Not Rated | | Drama | 23 June 2007 (Japan)
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1:34 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Naomi Kawase

Writer:

Naomi Kawase
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3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site | Official site | See more »

Country:

Japan | France

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

23 June 2007 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

The Mourning Forest See more »

Filming Locations:

Nara, Japan

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
demands patience but does not reward it
3 May 2013 | by CountZero313See all my reviews

Machiko starts work as a caregiver in a rural Old Folk's Home, seemingly setting out on a new life after the traumatic loss of her child. There she meets Shigeki, who seems to take to her because her name is similar to that of his beloved wife who passed away 33 years previously. Thirty-three years is an auspicious time, says a Buddhist priest to Shigeki, because his wife can now enter nirvana. The priest's words, the arrival of Machiko, and another birthday seem to spark something inside the mentally diminished Shigeki. When Machiko takes him out for the day, a car accident sets off a chain of events that will push both Shigeki and Mahciko to extremes, and respective epiphanies.

That is as much conventional narrative interpretation as this episodic, dreamlike piece can sustain. The set up is deftly handled, with the protagonists' tragedy revealed in violent confrontation with Machiko's husband, and opaque but insistent resistance from Shigeki. Makiko Watanabe exemplifies the low-key, naturalistic performances from the actors, seemingly in balance with the amateur octogenarians around them. A game of hide-and-seek in tea fields is endearing.

However, the best and worst of art-house is on display here. The mountains, forests and streams of Nara look magical and immortal. The sense of timelessness set in contrast to the fading mortality of the care-home residents is profound. However, once the story moves towards Machiko and Shigeki's journey through the forest, the shots are held longer, the lines become sparse and difficult to fathom, and there is a lot of walking, walking, walking... I get that these two are on a journey that will help them realise, for Shigeki, that his life has had meaning, and that for Machiko, there is a way to go on through human connection. Somehow this is brought to them by hugging a large dead tree. And falling in streams. And digging. And walking, lots of walking.

It looks beautiful, the actors are charismatic, but I am not sure there is really anything else there. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia dealt with similar themes, but more poetically, with more startling, painterly images, and with a deeper resonance. The Mourning Forest opens with a promise, but ultimately it does not live up to it.


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