Warm Water Under A Red Bridge

on May 03, 2002 by Ed Scheid
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Shohei Imamura, who has twice received Cannes' top prize, the Palme d'Or (for 1983's “The Ballad of Narayama” and 1997's “The Eel”), returned to Cannes with an unusual offering: a Japanese screwball comedy.

   Yosuke (Koji Yakusho) has lost both his job and his wife. A homeless man tells him about a stolen gold Buddha statue hidden in a house near a red bridge in a distant village. Yosuke journeys to find the statue, and in the village he sees a woman, Saeko (Misa Shimizu), shoplifting in a supermarket, who leaves behind a pool of water. He follows her to the house by the red bridge, where Saeko tells Yosuke that she secretes water when experiencing pleasure. The aimless Yosuke finds himself energized by the free-spirited Saeko.

   Imamura cleverly adds comedy and fantasy to the calm setting of the Japanese village. Scenes of water spouting from Saeko during her romantic encounters with Yosuke are an unexpected farcical contrast to the villagers' usual quiet activities. Yakusho and Shimizu, who co-starred in “The Eel,” create engaging characterizations in Imamura's lively and enjoyable cultural mix. Starring Koji Yakusho, Misa Shimizu and Mitsuko Baisho. Directed by Shohei Imamura. Written by Motofumi Tomikawa, Daisuke Tengan and Shohei Imamura. Produced by Hisa Iino. No distributor set. Comedy. Japanese-language; subtitled. Not yet rated. Running time: 119min.

Tags: Starring Koji Yakusho, Misa Shimizu and Mitsuko Baisho. Directed by Shohei Imamura. Written by Motofumi Tomikawa, Daisuke Tengan, Shohei Imamura, Produced by Hisa Iino, Comedy
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