Starring: Koji Yakusho, Misa Shimizu, Mitsuko Baisho
Director: Shohei Imamura
Studio: Dae-Gyung DVD
About This DVD
Twice a Cannes Palme D'Or winner with "The Ballad of Narayama" and "The Eel", septuagenarian Japanese auteur Shohei Imamura returns with this charmingly bizarre slice of magic realism. Adapted from Henmi Yo's novel by Imamura and his co-screenwriters Motofumi Tomikawa and Daisuke Tengan, it's an engaging variation on the male mid-life crisis picture.
Tipped off by a dying tramp in Tokyo, unemployed Yosuke (Koji Yakusho) finds himself travelling down to a small town on the Noto Peninsula where a golden Buddha statue has supposedly been hidden in a house near the red bridge. There the middle-aged Yosuke, who expects nothing more than a "life of boring predictability", encounters both the senile fortune-teller Mitzu (Mitsuko Baisho) and her beautiful grand-daughter Saeko (Misa Shimizu). The latter is a young woman whose body secretes gallons of water when she makes love, a discharge which irrigates the garden and replenishes the local river. She and Yosuke begin a passionate affair, with the newcomer rushing back from his fisherman duties to satisfy her amorous desires. Rumours abound however as to the fate of her last boyfriend, who drowned in mysterious circumstances.
An endearing portrait of provincial eccentricity, and a generous tribute to female fecundity, "Warm Water Under a Red Bridge" smoothly incorporates various quirky sub-plots and supporting characters such as the African student training for a marathon and the determined down-and-out in competition with Yosuke for the treasure. Photographed and framed with consummate assurance, and appealingly acted by its cast, the film may lack refinement in terms of its aquatic metaphors. Still it's difficult to dislike a film in which the melancholic protagonist is heartily encouraged to embrace lasciviousness and lechery.
All the hallmarks of an Imamura film are present in Akai Hashi Noshitano Nurui Mizu -- a portrait of Japan at its fringes, a healthy fascination with human sexuality, and an earthy sense of humor. Indeed, the weird premise makes this film the funniest and lightest of Imamura's lengthy oeuvre. The scene in which Yosuke and Saeko first make love, as geyser-like spurts of water blast from their loins, is almost worth the price of admission. Yet for an Imamura film, Akai feels curiously tame. Gone is the savage wit and formal innovation of his masterworks such as The Pornographers and Vengeance Is Mine. The film Akai most easily recalls is his 1997 Palm d'Or Unagi, which features roughly the same cast -- Koji Yakusho, Misa Shimizu, and Mitsuko Baisho -- and a similar story line of a regular guy looking for redemption. Yet even that work contained some sharp edges. While not the filmmaker's finest work, Akai Hashi Noshitano Nurui Mizu is a rare light, frothy affair directed by a master of world cinema.
|Audio Format:||DD 2.0 Stereo|
|Video Format:||Widescreen 1.85:1 (Anamorphic)|
|Special Features:||- It Contains of 2 Film Cuts.
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Interview with Director
- Cast & Crew
- Korean Theatrical Trailer
- Making of Film
|Availability:||Usually ships in 5-10 days|