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Black Rain
     

Black Rain

Director: Shohei Imamura, Yoshiko Tanaka, Kazuo Kitamura, Etsuko Ichihara

Cast: Shohei Imamura, Yoshiko Tanaka, Kazuo Kitamura, Etsuko Ichihara

 

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The title refers to the radioactive fallout which descended upon ruined city of Hiroshima after the dropping of the first atomic bomb. Young bride-to-be Yoshiko Tanaka has the misfortune to be visiting Hiroshima on the day of the explosion. Incredibly, she is unhurt; she returns to her own village, across the bay from Hiroshima. Unfortunately, her townsmen have been

Overview

The title refers to the radioactive fallout which descended upon ruined city of Hiroshima after the dropping of the first atomic bomb. Young bride-to-be Yoshiko Tanaka has the misfortune to be visiting Hiroshima on the day of the explosion. Incredibly, she is unhurt; she returns to her own village, across the bay from Hiroshima. Unfortunately, her townsmen have been profoundly affected by the "black rain"; over the next five years, the poison in their systems slowly but surely erodes their souls. In a tragic state of denial, Yoshiko's former friends insist that they can't be sick-it must be the girl who is bringing sickness to them. Now a pariah, Yoshiko's life is shattered as surely as if the bomb had disintegrated her upon impact. Director Shohei Imamaura, a onetime assistant to the great Ozu and the director of such Japanese classics as The Insect Woman and The Ballad of Narayama, never sensationalizes his material; the story is effective told in a muted, subdued fashion, allowing the horror to arise from the inner torment of the characters rather than being artificially imposed by camera trickery or "shock" cutting. Based on a novel by Masuji Ibuse, the black-and-white Black Rain won the Japanese equivalent of the Academy Award, along with several other honors.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jonathan Crow
Few films have captured the horror of the atomic explosion over Hiroshima and the cruelty of the bomb's effects as devastatingly as Shohei Imamura's masterful Kuroi Ame. Adapted from the prize-winning novel by Masuji Ibuse, which was in turn adapted from the diaries of Ibuse's friend Shigematsu Shizuma, Kuroi opens with a harrowingly realistic depiction of how, in an instant, a thriving city can become a surrealistic hell of burning buildings, freakish weather, and charred flesh. Shooting in stark black-and-white, Imamura confronts yet rivets the audience with one atomic horror after another, until the viewer is overwhelmed. Suddenly, the film fast-forwards to the tranquility of the immediate post-war era, only to reveal the long-term terror of the bomb. Protagonist Shigematsu suffers from radiation sickness, which renders the seemingly robust middle-aged man weak and without energy; his friends suddenly keel over dead from the disease. Yet, not content with only illustrating the human devastation of the bomb, Imamura focuses with almost equal ferocity on the backward societal prejudices that bomb survivors endure. Five years after the blast, villagers complain about the laziness of the enfeebled bomb survivors, while Shigematsu's niece Yasuko, who escaped Hiroshima without apparent injury, cannot find a husband in spite of clean bill of health. More restrained than such Imamura classics as The Pornographers (1966) and Vengeance is Mine (1979), this film still bears his imprint: a fascination with the fringes of Japanese society; strong-willed, overtly sexual women; and his signature earthy humor. This film, which swept the Japanese Academy Awards and received a prize at the Cannes Film Festival, stands as both a great film by a cinematic master and a searing testament of the atomic age.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/20/2009
UPC:
0737187011528
Original Release:
1989
Source:
Animeigo
Region Code:
1
Time:
2:03:00

Special Features

Alternate color ending; Interview with assistant director Takashi Miike (Audition & Ichi the Killer); Interview with Yoshiko Tanaka; Trailers; Cast & crew biographies; Multimedia vault; Program notes; Image gallery

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Black Rain
1. Chapter One [6:38]
2. Chapter Two [7:56]
3. Chapter Three [6:22]
4. Chapter Four [6:37]
5. Chapter Five [5:30]
6. Chapter Six [7:07]
7. Chapter Seven [7:28]
8. Chapter Eight [6:53]
9. Chapter Nine [7:26]
10. Chapter Ten [5:48]
11. Chapter Eleven [7:56]
12. Chapter Twelve [4:29]
13. Chapter Thirteen [4:11]
14. Chapter Fourteen [7:01]
15. Chapter Fifteen [6:19]
16. Chapter Sixteen [6:28]
17. Chapter Seventeen [6:43]
18. Chapter Eighteen [8:46]

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