After the Rain | 雨あがる

13 04 2015



Winner of the Japanese Academy Award, After the Rain is a 1999 film based on the last script by the legendary Akira Kurosawa, filmed and produced after the director’s passing while the film was still in preproduction.

The entire action takes place during the Samurai era, in the countryside when a group of people gets stranded in an inn during a heavy rain. Roads are washed off, travel becomes off-limits and so the world slows down while the unwilling participants get to pass the time together in a small and now crowded space at this outpost of civilization. Nothing is the word.

But things do happen.

The protagonist gets to grow over the sequel of unexpected events, the supporting characters get to create a meaningful canvas at the backdrop of which the entire plot gets to come to its resolution. And the audience gets to watch the ever unique exploration of human nature, Akira Kurosawa’s signature in cinematography.

There’s something intangible about the director’s spirit being so carefully preserved throughout the entire film. Each scene as if breathes Kurosawa, his vision being laid out in front of millions of human eyes who get to witness the  magic one more time. Kurosawa always aims at the unseen, the ephemeral, that ultimate fabric that connects humanity – in a variety of very telling situations in which actions speak louder than words.

After the Rain does not contain too many dialogues – but it does however contain many scenes where words become  obsolete. Through showing – not telling – the storyteller’s original idea comes to life when entrusted with the masters of Japanese cinema. And in that, Kurosawa’s ideal lives on.

Copyright Camilla Stein ©2015. All rights reserved.



29 02 2012

20th Century Boys

‘Kenji, come play with me…’

Manga adaptation on screen is a risky undertaking. However, somehow, this didn’t scare creators of the Japanese film trilogy 20th Century Boys. The product that was first offered to the audience in 2008, now occupies its rightful place among the top productions of the Japanese film industry, having also been critically acclaimed on the international arena.

Directed by Yukihiko Tsutsumi, the trilogy revolves around a story of young kids, boys who make a pact they pledge to honor with their lives. They go on into their adulthood, carrying memories of their childish games, only to discover that one of them took things way too seriously. Decades later, now all grown up and mature, they try to figure out who is behind the menacing events that suddenly begin enveloping the entire world. As reports of more deaths keep streaming in, Japan and the rest of the world slowly sinks into the almost animalistic fear of the one, who calls himself Friend.

Built on a number of urban legends and incorporating many cultural idiosyncrasies, 20th Century Boys is a dynamic science fiction action thriller that features polarized aspects of human nature being revealed in a classic confrontation of good v. evil. This ain’t no Godzilla, but the super-natural adrenalin-fed flavor stays strong throughout all three parts.

Very Japanese and very universal in its character, the trilogy has a global appeal and quality that will keep 20th Century Boys in the vintage selection of the modern day cinematography.

Copyright Camilla Stein ©2012. All rights reserved.

More on the Official Site of 20th Century Boys UK 


2 03 2011


The Japanese Wife

 A Haiku In Motion

Explaining this movie, The Japanese Wife, won’t be so easy – such are all films that aim to bridge barriers, break walls and create a new realm of understanding, based on a newly discovered perception of a common ground that’s always been there, but was kept unnoticed for some unknown reason.

Released in April 2010, the movie clearly attempts to link two worlds, and not just the commonly known main stream version of these worlds, but goes deeper, touches the underlining matter that makes up the society of both cultures, the Indian and the Japanese. Shows life the way it really is, not the way it is being fed off the screen – a long lasting trend in the modern mass media.

Shows how love can go by without a physical element. Doesn’t deny the need of a physical contact yet achieves a neat balance and doesn’t distort the image of platonic love.

It is also a story of selfless service to the loved ones and the community, a sacrifice and a lesson of priorities, telling you what really matters. Because of one man’s commitment and dedication, and his insider’s link into ‘all things Japanese’, something beautiful and memorable happened in a far away Indian village.

With a hint of humor, this love story nearly lands you inside a tearful tragedy, stripping you off a so needed explanation of what happened out there. And then in the matter of seconds you fly on the wings of hope towards the light that only true love can bring you to.

There is an undeniable charm in the way this story floats from one corner of the Earth to another.  A word should also be said about one striking feature that some might still find subject to a profound neglect –  the source of strength, coming from the feminine spirit, overtaking and inspiring.  The power of women.

Filled with passion, the story is narrated in a very calm and simplistic way. Yes, somewhat minimalistic too. Tells how little we need to be happy. The makers of this movie managed to create an impression of  haiku , with character’s reflections captured almost in slow motion, so that the viewer can pause and gaze and allow the touchdown to happen within one’s heart. But, like is the case with all haiku, worded, painted or now filmed, it often goes unappreciated and misunderstood, and always takes time to sink in. Not every one might find it immediately thrilling and amazing. Yet, in the end, it is.

And so is the final verdict – definitely worth it.

Copyright Camilla Stein ©2011. All rights reserved.

View the official trailer for The Japanese Wife

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