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The Sea is Watching (2002)

Cast: Misa Shimizu, Misa Shimizu, Nagiko Tohno, more...
Director: Kei Kumai, Kei Kumai
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Studio: Columbia TriStar
Genre: Foreign, Costume Drama/Period Piece, Japan
Running Time: 119 min.
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Thai
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This title is currently out of print.

Kei Kumai's Umi Wa Miteita (The Sea Watches) has a script written by the late Japanese master Akira Kurosawa. O-Shin (Nagiko Tohno) is a geisha. One day a samurai named Fusanosuke (Hidetaka Yoshioka) appears in her town on the run after having killed a man. She assists him by cutting his hair. The two fall in love, despite the protestations from O-Shin's friend Kikuno (Misa Shimizu). Eventually Fusanosuke leaves, only to return one day and reveal that he is engaged. The second half of the film involves O-Shin again falling in love with a samurai, this one named Ryosuke (Masatoshi Nagase). The Sea Watches was screened at the San Sebastian Film Festival. ~ Perry Seibert, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Kurosawa writes; Kumai directs by talltale March 28, 2005 - 8:51 PM PST
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
Akira Kurosawa wrote but did not direct THE SEA IS WATCHING, a sweet and strange, fable-like movie about a Japanese brothel and the Geishas who man it ("woman" it?). Full of lovely color, performances and story, this film compares with little else I have seen in terms of how it takes us back to a place and time of a century past that may not have existed at all (the brothel itself often seems too clean, and the Geishas too kind). And yet: not coming from an Asian culture and parentage, I can't say that the unusual (to western sensibilities) kindness and caring of some of these women for their co-workers is not as true in its way as our westernized dog-eat-dog, every man for himself behavior.

While the na´ve and lovelorn Geisha initially appears the most important character, it's the older, more experienced woman--beautifully played by Misa Shimizu--that will finally rivet you, if not tear you apart. The final scene, as she waits for--what?--is beyond compare. By exploring that intersection where social convention and personal sacrifice meet, this unusual work is a "don't-miss" for members who love Asian film.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.76)
37 Votes
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