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Maborosi


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Editorial Reviews

One of the finest all-time Japanese films. Yumiko, struggling with the sudden loss of her husband, becomes remarried and moves with her young son to a remote village in the wild, untamed Sea of Japan. With time she comes to understand life, love, and a sense of peace.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Makiko Esumi, Takashi Naitô, Tadanobu Asano, Gohki Kashiyama, Naomi Watanabe
  • Directors: Hirokazu Koreeda
  • Writers: Teru Miyamoto, Yoshihisa Ogita
  • Producers: Chikako Nakabayashi, Naoe Gôzu, Takashi Sakurai, Yutaka Shigenobu
  • Format: Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: Japanese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: New Yorker Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 21, 2000
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004WIE5
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,442 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Maborosi" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

That said, the second half is too long.
xxxxxxxxx
The camera techniques and the subtle use of expression instead of words made me like this film.
A H Booches
To me, it's about dealing with tragedies in our lives.
Paul Date

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By xxxxxxxxx on May 6, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
This movie is an all-time favorite of mine. I've seen it in the cinema close to ten times. The visual composition is extraordinary. Simple scenes like a bus coming into frame and around a corner--no plot, no action--are stunning and enthralling. The writing and acting are understated and powerful, finding the maximum expression with the minimum gesture.
That said, the second half is too long. Even I get tired and have trouble keeping focus and this is supposed to be one of my favorites.
References to Japanese culture may be slightly opaque, but actually it's really not hard to have some appreciation even without prior familiarity. For instance, a kettle on a flame in a household is a recurrent image. There may be some specific reference or message there, but I think it's sufficient to appreciate it as a sign of the warm interior of the household and the tea ready to serve to family or guests.
Now, the reason for 3 stars only: The transfer is horrendous, abysmal, outrageous--this travesty demands retribution on whoever is responsible. Many reviewers refer to dark, indistinct images where characters can't even be recognized. The screen image is snowy throughout. Let me assure you that this never occurs in a decent print of the film, and to issue this transfer is a crime.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Erika Borsos VINE VOICE on August 14, 2006
Format: DVD
The cinematography gives this film more depth and meaning with the medium and long shots of events as they unfold in the lives of a Japanese couple ... Yumiko, her husband, and 3 month old son live in a small apartment in Osaka, evidently very much in love. We are privileged to view their lives in its elegant simplicity. Her husband bicycles to work at a factory nearby. Yumiko and he bicycle together to a nearby restaurant for coffee. Yumiko is haunted by a past event where her grandmother leaves the family to die in her own village ... It was her last wish.

Sadly, Yumiko gets a knock on the door, as several police officers ask about her husband and his job. She is accompanied to the police station where she is presented his belongings. There she is told, he walked in front of an oncoming train, despite its warnings, he kept on walking ... an apparent suicide. She is discouraged from viewing what is left of his body. She is distaught and receives help from a neighbor and her mother ... As time passes, four years go by, and a kindly neighbor becomes match-maker, as her son and she board a train to northern Japan to a small fishing village.

Yumiko partakes of a wedding celebration with her new husband, a haunting beautiful ballad is sung by a male guest as the wedding guests clap out the rhythm. Her new life begins ... The stark beauty of the mountain scenery, the shore, the village, and ocean are superbly filmed. Yumiko's son and stepdaughter explore the coast in breath-taking scenery ... Yumiko is enculturated into the lifestyle of the village. During one haunting scene, a group of villagers walk along a road to the sea coast ... There is a bonfire which could be a funeral pyre for someone.
Read more ›
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful By R. Wingate on December 30, 2003
Format: DVD
Maborosi (Maboroshi no Hikari) is a beautiful film. It's simply one of the best movies in my Japanese collection (which isn't small). Not that having lived for several years in the rural area where much of the movie is set biases my opinion.
The imagery and music are wonderful. The story is contemplative and haunting. Esumi Makiko is beautiful. The acting is as natural as the Japanese countryside. Even after many viewings, this movie holds up -- I wish I could find more like this one.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Timothy G. Lowly on November 10, 2003
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
this is an amazing film
haiku simple
images framed long and slow like the esteemed dutch painter contemplating something darker than his typical subject
few movies consider grief in such a profoundly and mysteriously moving way
thankyou Hiokazu Kore-eda
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Allan Armstrong (alarms@aol.com) on April 11, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
This film is full of beautiful imagery as a japanese island lays the backdrop for a woman to quietly come to terms with her husbands suicide. The movie seems at times to play out in real time which will enthrall some and exasperate others. Yet I feel that if someone has found the patience for subtitles they can dig a little deeper and muster the thoughtfulness necessary as the main character's grief process is painted in slow satisfying strokes.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By PeerGynt on November 27, 2001
Format: DVD
I'm very enthusiastic about this movie (see my earlier review), however it should be noted that the quality of the print is extremely poor. The movie was transferred to tape and subtitled for release in the U.S. and unfortunately the DVD was taken from this low quality tape transfer rather than being printed from the film. If a better print were released in the U.S. I'd rush to buy it. How about it Criterion Collection?
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Michel Gelobter on November 1, 2000
Format: DVD
This film is in my top ten. I first saw it in a theater, where the natural light, amazing use of simple landscape, and the day to day aesthetic of japanese life is best appreciated. One thing the film is about for me is the way beauty is temporary and permanent all at the same time. We can lose things (including human relations) of great beauty and still forget how we are surrounded by it always. The ocean figures in this film as one example of this idea. A perfect story of love, a slow meditation on life, a beautiful canvas of light and dark.
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