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Archive for January 1st, 2013

Warm Water Under A Red Bridge

Yosuke Sasono is a man in his forties who loses his job when his company goes bankrupt. Unsuccessful in job interviews and with his wife and child having left him and constantly nagging for money on the phone, he travels to a small village near the sea in search of a gold Buddha statue that was stolen 40 years ago by a vagrant friend that has just died. His instructions say the statue is under a flower pot in a house next to a red bridge. When he finds the house, he meets the woman Saeko that lives there and follows her to a supermarket. There he spots her shoplifting and leaking fluids from her body. As the woman in question has dropped an earring in the supermarket, he goes back to her place where he discovers that the woman has an unusual secret that requires him to have sex with her! Beginning to fall for the woman, he decides to hang around the village and gets a job as a fisherman. Some of the villagers warn him that the woman will sap all of his vitality away if he continues to see her but will he take on board their advice or carry on with his strange relationship with her……

warm-water-under-a-red-bridge screenshot

This was the last full movie from director Shohei Imamura before he passed away in 2006. Imamura has never been one to shy away from sex in his movies especially those in the lower rungs of society and he continues with that theme in this movie. Here he tackles the subject of loneliness and acceptance in an unusual way in that the character of Saeko’s body fills up with water and the only way of releasing it properly is by having sex. At the height of climax the water inside her gushes out like a water hydrant spraying all over the windows, ceiling and floor of her house! The amount of water released result in a steady stream flowing from her house into the nearby river hence the movie’s title. The water seems to do something to the fish in the river which jump about excitedly! The story might sound like it’s some kind of sex comedy but it’s not. Whilst it does have a couple of raunchy scenes of the couple having sex, they are rather tongue-in-cheek, filmed tastefully and they do make you laugh thanks to a background soundtrack that reminds me of a Carry On movie. These scenes are something which won’t be forgotten in a hurry!! The movie is like a kind of fairy tale and it has a gentle pace about it. It takes it’s time to get going but once you’re fully immersed in the plot you just get carried along with the flow of the movie. The explanation for Saeko’s condition is sort of explained halfway through the movie. The cinematography is excellent with breathtaking views of a mountain range and that of the sea from Saeko’s house. A very idyllic peaceful place to live with beautiful surroundings. Imamura populates the movie with quirky characters such as an African marathon runner training for a race with aspirations to become Prime Minister in his home country in the future, Saeko’s senile grandmother and a couple of old fishermen who are amazed by the large fish they manage to catch in the river after Saeko has released her water. Excellent acting from all the cast but especially from the two leads (Koji Yakusho and Misa Shimizu). The story starts to veer a little bit from the humourous side to the dramatic towards the end as tensions begin to appear between the couple as a face from Saeko’s past suddenly turns up and she seems to think that Sasano only wants to be with her to satisfy his kinkiness with her condition. Is that the case? Is Sasano only with Saeko for her odd ability or does he look past this strangeness and love her for the person that she really is? Imamura also casts his eye on the mid-life crisis faced by Sasano. Drained by what’s happened to him with losing his job, it’s like with his move from the big city and having to adapt to a new way of living in the seaside village, Sasano’s shackles have been casted off and he’s enjoying life with renewed vigour again.

Warm Water Under A Red Bridge is a fun, memorable and imaginative movie with a slightly surreal look on life and love. The quirky characters and the strange plot makes it instantly enjoyable and unique. I found it be quite a charming tale and well worth checking out. Recommended.

I can’t find a trailer for this movie I’m afraid.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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