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The Inland Sea
The Inland Sea
Director: Lucille Carra
Genres: Documentary
NR     2000     0hr 56min

Lucille Carra, with Brian Cotnoir, re-creates the lyrical vision of old Japan captured by Donald Richie in his classic travel memoir. Richie, one of the foremost Western authorities on Japanese cinema and culture, juxtapos...  more »


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Movie Details

Director: Lucille Carra
Creators: Hiro Narita, Lucille Carra, Brian Cotnoir, Gerald Carrus, Donald Richie
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Documentary
Studio: Image Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 11/28/2000
Original Release Date: 01/01/1991
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1991
Release Year: 2000
Run Time: 0hr 56min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, Japanese

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Movie Reviews

Beautiful and atmospheric
M. L. Tanner | Austin, TX, USA | 12/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Inland Sea is a gorgeous and fascinating look at an area of Japan most Westerners know nothing about. I loved it so much that as soon as it was over, I started it over and watched it again all the way through."
Documentary as poetry
shalamo | Cincinnati, OH United States | 07/09/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Inland Sea is a documentary based on Richie's book of the same name.It transcends this form, however, to become a truly unique vision of one man's love affair with a Japan that has all but vanished.It is best to see along with reading the book. It is well worth every penny."
A true portrait of Japanese modus vivendi
Zack Davisson | Seattle, WA, USA | 04/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is what it is like to live in Japan. I was amazed to see it captured so perfectly on film. The scenery, the pace of life, the day-to-day people and things, everything is at once completely real and yet tinged with nostalgia. Overlaying this vision is the inner musings of Donald Richie, a man with profound insight on the island nation of Japan, and what it is like to live there as a foreigner. Almost every time, his thoughts were familiar ones, reflections that I myself have had on the sights and people I have seen.

"The Inland Sea" is a leisurely tour across the Seto Inland Sea, the body of water that separates the island of Shikoku from the main island of Honshu. Donald Richie reads passages from his acclaimed travel-diary of the same name, published some 30 years earlier. Retaking this trip as an older man, Richie is nostalgic but still reverent of the lifestyle along this stretch of water. The images drift across small, perfect islands that look like something from a painting, to elegant coffee shops and covered shopping arcades, to an gorgeous, isolated island where lepers live, playing gateball and waiting to die peacefully. Everything is authentic.

Richie is also honest with himself in his dialog, sometimes uncomfortably so. He acknowledges things about being a traveler, such as the sexual freedom that people can find in Japan, without coming off as salacious or exploitative. It is something that simply is a part of the journey, as much as the occasional loneliness and the awe.

Unlike so many travel guides of Japan, "The Inland Sea" does not attempt to highlight the strangeness of Japan, the unfamiliar food and customs. It does not put forth a "Japan! Wow!" tour of the exciting sites and great majesties you can find there. People looking for that sort of thing will find themselves disappointed by it. Rather, like a boat gently drifting down a slow river, it shows real people living their real lives, and it does so beautifully."
Haunting journey to a lost Japan
Zack Davisson | 08/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Inland Sea is a film version of Donald Richie's celebrated memoir. Uncannily, the film closely follows the interior nature of the book, and the truly beautiful images match the lost villages and shrines Richie described forty years ago. He sensitively narrates his own poetic prose, which has moments of wry humour. If you've ever visited rural Japan, you won't believe your eyes. It re-captures the whole mood and you can watch this film over and over again."