Shôhei Imamura’s passionate film follows the fate of three family members caught in the atomic blast over Hiroshima. Although they survived, Shige Shizuma, his wife Shigeko, and their adult niece Yasuko are nevertheless scarred by the ordeal, both physically and emotionally, for the rest of their lives. Moving back to their rustic mountain village the three find some comfort in both one another and in the quotidian rhythms of the farming community around them. But as rumors of Yasuko’s exposure to radioactive fallout continue to scare away potential suitors and the Shizumas watch with helpless resignation as friends and fellow victims succumb to the “flash sickness”, all three are reminded of their own uncertain future. Meticulously shot in rich shades of black and white which lend it an aura of authenticity, Black Rain has the feel of a classic film. Imamura exhibits an artist’s eye for texture and composition whether he’s filming a pastoral vista of hills and rice paddies or a procession of burned and bloodied civilians shambling through streets choked with corpses and smoking rubble. His scenes of devastation achieve a poetic intensity while other moments of quiet, individual suffering take on a tragic intimacy. And throughout it all he manages to interject some striking cinematic images; a group of women bathing in the river are partially obscured by smoke from nearby funeral pyres while a shell-shocked veteran has a disturbing flashback amidst a studio filled with stone gods and demons. Although he clearly loves his characters, Shôhei does not spare them, or us, from life’s harsher realities. With neither science nor religion able to offer much solace, Mr. Shizuma sums it up quite succinctly, “An unjust peace is better than a just war...”
An excellent, B/W film on the aftermath of the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima, and how a family and a village were affected by the fallout. A young girl's life was ruined, and we follow the intimate details of her bodily deterioration over time. Hearting wrenching for sure. And don't miss the 20-minutes alternative ending, in colour, from the 'extras'. A great anti-war film with a very humane twist.
This is an extremely heart-rending story about a young woman who has gone through a slow death because of the "black rain" fallout resulting from the dropping of the atomic bomb
Don't get confused with the American film with the same title made in the same year (1989)and directed by Ridley Scott.
This is a Japanese movie directed by Imamura Shohei based on the novel of the same name by Ibuse Masuji.
The events are centered on the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
As guardians, a middle-aged couple try to find their niece, Yasuko, a husband according to the Japanese custom. Yasuko has been declined three times due to concerns over her having been in the "black rain."
Yasuko sees her friends, neighbors succumbing to radiation sickness and finally to death one by one. While taking a bath one night, she notices that her hair is falling off, and realizes that she will die soon as do her friends and neighbors.
Her prospects for marriage become more and more unlikely.
But miraculously she survives, and gradually forms a bond with a poor veteran named Yuichi, who carves guardian dieties of children and suffers a form of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) due to the unbearable experiences of the war. He attacks passing motor vehicles, considering those as "US tanks."
The story of Anne Frank is well-known world-wide, but Yasuko's story is more heart-rending because she has to endure her slow death.
The DVD has an extra story about her pilgrimage in her middle age.
Yasuko now turns out to be a sickly pilgrim, literally living like a beggar.
In due course, she takes a look at Yuichi, but decides not to talk to him simply because she thinks her life is over.
As the holocaust created thousands of Annes, the atomic bombs dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki produced thousands of Yasukos.
Naturally you wonder how come innocent people like Anne Frank and Yasuko have to go through all the miseries and hardships.
As I do while watching the movie, you might hate fascism, totalitarianism, wars, atomic bombs, war-mongers and the military-industrial complex, which is now producing unmanned military airplanes (drones) that drop super-bombs in Afghanistan, creating another Anne's and Yasuko's stories.
Possibly the most depressing film ever made, and I mean that in a good way. One half star off because SPOILER the dear, sweet villagers have little connection to what their country had been doing since the 1930s, and wonder aloud what brought this disaster upon them. I call that cheating.
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