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on September 22, 2001
This film deserves ten stars not five. Mr. Kore-eda uses natural light, both in nocturnal and diurnal scenes. It is one of the most carefully and beautifully shot films I have ever seen. The lighting and photography in the interior scenes is incomparable and masterful. The scenario is restrained and the acting is absolutely first rate, restrained, understated, powerful -- exactly like the ocean, which functions as one of the symbolic characters in the film. What is the ocean but the unconsciousness of the working mind, the stillness sometimes, the violence sometimes, the tranquility sometimes, the wildness sometimes? In each moment there is a recognition of goodbye, and it may be the final goodbye, it may be the shock of someone leaving and never returning, no matter how much we love them, no matter how much we yearn for them. The loss of someone we treasure. Every element in this film: lighting, cinematography, music, acting, direction, scenario -- all works together as a forceful poem to remind us of the death in life, and the life in death. It is one of the most uplifting and spiritual films I have ever seen, yet it never once preaches about loss and the attempt to restructure a life after such an unendurable loss. There is no religion in this film, it is a film about the spiritual transcendence within ordinary life. This film is an absolutely elegant but deeply felt prayer to affirm the meaning of being alive. Everyone should see this film.
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on January 22, 2001
I did enjoy this film, for its focus on the beauty of the Japanese landscape and the potential beauty of life, despite loss. Its relevance to Buddhist culture is undeniable. But for all the Japanese films and Chinese films I've viewed (and collected) over the years, I remain puzzled why the director chose to avoid any closeups of any of the main characters. In this case, the protagonist (who many of us have seen in several Japanese TV drama series) has an unusally expressive face and voice. These were buried in shadow or obscured by distance for most of the film, giving the production a clear distance from the viewer, both from physical and emotional perspectives. This must be viewed several times before the benefit is realized, I think.
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on October 20, 2009
The climax of the movie comes in a long shot - no closeups to dramatize the emotion, just a long shot of two people almost in silhouette. Yet it comes with a deep emotional punch. Very much like an Ozu film, the movie proceeds with the joys of daily living, though we are aware of an underlying concern that has yet to be resolved. And once you have been lulled into this languid state, comes a beautifully filmed ten minute sequence ending with this unorthodox but truly effective long shot.

This is a must see for film lovers. Watch with your full attention and let the movie's rhythm sway you.
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on April 15, 2017
One of the best films.
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on November 10, 2003
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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on October 11, 2014
Excellent movie about loss and restoration of life. Wonderful camera work . Quiet warm film. One of the most beautifully somber movies ever made. Would love to see it make it to Blu ray.
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on January 12, 2012
The product arrived safely by mail and was in good shape. My husband who is japanese really enjoyed the tape
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VINE VOICEon August 14, 2006
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. Yumiko is met by her husband as she sobs out her questions, why did he kill himself, what made him do it? Her second husband tells a story about the beguiling nature of the ocean which also calls to fishermen, when they are out fishing alone ... It is the nature of life to sometimes call some people back to the "maborosi" ("the light")... Erika Borsos [pepper flower]
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on September 1, 2014
This is not the way the movie is supposed to look. All the people talking in the these reviews about how dark everything looks need to realize this.

I suggest everyone thinking of buying this takes a look at this page.

I have seen both prints of this film. This release has the picture completely darkened and changed, and it is not supposed to look this way. Some people in the reviews talk about how the director meant for it to be this way and all this stuff about how it has a deeper meaning blah blah blah. No. The picture on this release either comes from a bad source or has a contrast boost. Do not buy this DVD.

Look on the page I linked and buy either of the other releases of this DVD. They have the correct picture quality. If you cant afford to order them, then do not buy this movie at all. You will be wasting your money if you buy this version and will have to watch a movie, in unwatchable quality.

As far as the movie itself goes, its really, really boring, and not that great. It can be good to watch on a slow day when you have a lot of time, but dont expect anything exciting, or a plot.
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on September 15, 2003
This is an honest movie. To me, it's about dealing with tragedies in our lives. The story it tells is about trying to understand why things happen that are full of sadness. It shows it is difficult, if not impossible to "get over" terrible events in our lives. This may not be a good movie for those who have not endured loss of a loved one. It may require some experience with tragedy to appreciate the movie. How else can one be sensitive to another's suffering unless they have experienced the same or very similar pain and sorrow? Maybe this film is trying to do that, to invite everyone to "feel" what it is like to be really confused, lost, and frustrated about some events in our lives. I may be wrong, but the writer of this movie must know the characters very well, know what they're feeling, and have a sense of confusion about why we do certain things that are hard to explain. I appreciate this movie. It helps me to think about my own confusion and why I do the things I do in my life.
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