Mr. and Mrs. Shizuma and their niece Yasuko make their way through the ruins of Hiroshima, devastated by the atomic bomb. Five years later, Yasuko is living with her aunt and uncle, and her senile grandmother, in a village... more » containing many survivors of the bombing. Yasuko does not appear to be affected, but the Shizumas are worried about her marriage prospects, fearing that she might succumb to radiation sickness at any time.« less
"This is a wonderful black and white film by one of Japan's foremost Directors, Shohei Imamura. The film also features the outstanding music of Japan's foremost modern composer, Toru Takemitsu. He also provided the score for Hiroshi Teshigahara's classic, "Woman In the Dunes"."Black Rain" explores a difficult subject, the bombing of Hiroshima, but does it not by assigning blame for the bombing. Rather Imamura depicts the intollerance of humanity that leads to all wars and their equally terrible aftermath. The characters in the film, all very well acted, are dealing with radiation illness and their positions as new social outcasts in postwar Japan. Perhaps one of the most moving scenes is that of the three Buddhist prayers or "sutras" for Hiroshima's dead chanted by a layman in the absence of the clergy. Indeed the film is one long prayer for peace and tolerance. The quality of this DVD is acceptable but it seems a shame that Fox Lorber does not seem inclined, with this or many other of their DVDs, to provide any bonus materials."
wdanthemanw | Geneva, Switzerland | 04/23/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"BLACK RAIN is the only movie of director Shohei Imamura that can be found in the DVD standard. It's a pity since this director is still one of the most interesting japanese directors even if he's now 72 years old. Winner of two Cannes Palmes d'Or ith THE EEL and THE BALLAD OF NARAYAMA, he isn't properly speaking a newcomer but his work deserves to be known by a wider audience.The black rain is the name Japanese people have given to the rain that fell on Hiroshima right after the nuclear bombing of this island. Black and deadly. The movie, shot in black and white, tells the story of a couple of survivors and their struggle to stay alive and be part of the new japanese society born after the emperor's surrender.One could say that BLACK RAIN's rythm is slow but I think it's a courageous choice of Shohei Imamura in order that we feel the fear of these people waiting their whole life for the first signs of the inevitable diseases provoked by radioactivity. In between, they try to survive like Yasuko, the heroin, whose search for a husband is pathetic.Two scenes will stay in your memory. Firstly, the description of Hiroshima in comparison of which those horror movies Hollywood produces by the dozen seem, for the least, ridiculous. And this scene when Yasuko, filled with hope, waits for a shining rainbow, symbolizing life. You wait with her, with all your heart, until you remember that this film is shot in black and white. Simply magistral.A scene access as sole extra-feature.A DVD for your library."
Life after the bombs: impressive/profound human interest
Jacqui | austin | 05/22/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Immamura's tour de force about a girl and her blood relatives' attempt to go on with life after surviving the August '45 bombing. While the film has been described as "restrained", it is also possible to receive the film as an incredibly eruptive effort: one that portrays its characters *always* on the verge of breaking down -- both physically and mentally -- from the wholly destructive and lingering effects of the bombs. While the ending escalates to full-blown helplessness (by using a self-reflexive comment about the limits of black and white film), the acting is an absolute success, particularly by the girl and the carver that loves her."
Don't judge what you haven't seen
T. Tan | Sorcerer's Isle | 10/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This goes to "Margo Lopez" and "Jenni Garcia Mariposa", who are both probably the same person trying to pose as two Latin-American bimbos from different locales. Neither one (if they are really two) have actually seen the film, and are judging a book by its cover. "Mariposa" voiced the same tune for the book "Black Rain (Japan's Modern Writers S.)" by Masuji Ibuse (click on "her" name for more info). In total, that's 3 "reviews" from two usernames. It's as if that's all they are here for. Neither one wrote anything else since.
The film NEVER blamed the Americans even though they dropped the atomic bomb. In fact, the Japanese implied self-blame for what had happened - their government perpetrated the war, and the civilians suffered because of it. But you wouldn't know that unless you have seen the film.
The characters could have been anyone of us: the uncle who can't work as hard as he used to because he is ill, the niece who has trouble finding a suitable partner because of exaggerated rumors, the aunt tries to hold her family together, the war veteran whose experiences of war keeps haunting him and drive him crazy, and the superfical manner in which the people approach a national tragedy. You can find a lot of similar situations in your own country's history, unless you're igonorant of it.
Imamura's masterpiece deserves a perfect 10 from me. The fact that it can get a coward to pose as two "chicks" is a testament to the power of the film (subject matter). That and "any publicity is good publicity"."
A moving tragedy about a young girl's life affected by war.
T. Tan | 03/02/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is the first one that I know of that deals with other lesser known aspects of the atomic explosion of Hiroshima. The storey is about a young Japanese girl who was on the outskirts of the city when it was destroyed by an atomic bomb.She witnesses the horror and devastation as she and her family try to reach there Father's factory that is on the other side of town.She takes a boat ride across the bay when it starts raining black ash.That is just the begining of the film and the rest chronicles her life as she struggles to find a husband while under the suspicion that she was contaminated by the blast. When I think of the tragedy of Hiroshima I've always thought of its victims as being instantly vaporized at the moment of explosion.What this film tries to show is that for some victims there pain and suffering would last an entire lifetime. This film is a sublime masterpiece."