Wednesday 8 May 2013

Black Rain [1989]

Though movies, particularly in the sci-fi and fantasy domains, have been made on the apocalyptic effects of nuclear warfare, Black Rain remains a rare exposition on one that actually happened. This uncompromising and devastating portrayal of the harrowing aftermaths of the barbaric atomic explosion at Hiroshima, remains a completely atypical work in Imamura’s filmography. Sombre, tranquil, poignant, and filled with warm humanism, this has been construed by many as his reconciliation with Ozu under whom he had apprenticed as a young man. The narrative followed two temporal strands – the ‘present’ shows how Yasuka (Yoshiko Tanaka), a likeable young lady, and her compassionate uncle (Etsuko Ichihara) and aunt (Kazuo Kitamura), cope with life after the event, while the flashbacks provides us a shuddering and near-surrealistic glimpse into the very day the bomb was dropped, with desolation and charred flesh all around. The family in general, and Yasuka in particular, seem to have survived the physical ordeal as they try to find a groom for her with assurances from the local doctor that her health is sound. But, as is the wont, long-term radiation effects eventually catch up with them as it does with most of their neighbours, leading the film to a heartbreaking finale. It captured, with vividness, depth and maturity, not just the biological but also the debilitating social fallouts of the tragedy. Elegantly shot in B/W and comprising of terrific turns by Tanaka and Ichihara, the juxtaposition of the daily chores of the family members in the futile hope of erasing the tragedy of their collective conscience with the slow disintegration of life around them made it all the more haunting.

Director: Shohei Imamura
Genre: Drama/War Drama/Psychological Drama/Family Drama
Language: Japanese
Country: Japan


Robert said...

Your on a streak of Essential movies, and to be honest I havn't heard of any of them! I guess thats the point of reviews though.

Shubhajit said...

Haha, yes, I've marked my last 4 reviews as 'Essential Viewing', and I'd highly recommend them to you. But, that said, the next 2 reviews that are planned as of now wouldn't be maked as one, so I guess the streak ends here for now :)