Mitsuo Yanagimachi – Saraba itoshiki daichi AKA Farewell to the Land (1982)


Even though this film has (ofifcially) no involvement by Kenji Nakagami, it still feels totally like one of his stories. People familiar with his writings set in Wakayama will cerntainly recognize a couple of similarities.

Eiga Geijutsu’s #2 for 1982.

Jinpachi Nezu really delivers an outstanding performance that got him the Kinema Junpo Award for “Best Actor”.
Beautiful cinematography by genius Masaki Tamura.

[…] Saraba Itoshiki Daichi (Farewell to the Land), Yanagimachi’s next film, was completed three years later and took up the question of what happens when the balance of an extended family in rural Japan is upset. The main character blames himself for the deaths of his two sons in a boating accident and leaves his wife and parents behind. He takes on a mistress, to the shame of his family, and he pops stimulants to keep up with his work schedule as a truck driver. Growing increasingly irritable and irrational, he goes through various conflicts with his brother, his colleagues, his boss, and his wife. The film ends in an act of violence for which no explanation is given.

In stark contrast to what one might expect, this is not a film about a wayward individual breaking up a family. Instead, the balance being destroyed is the rural family’s harmony with nature — the “farewell to the land” to which the film’s title refers. Yanagimachi does have a message to convey, but his individual shots represent nothing more than the literal images that they depict. Rather, the order and sequence in which Yanagimachi’s images unfold reveal patterns and dualities. The film is filled with shots that describe the new Japan of dump trucks and bulldozers and combines harvesting grain on farms. Alongside these images are shots of a full moon, an eclipse of the sun, and beautiful waves in lush fields of rice. The mythical beauty of rural life stands contrasted with the hectic new Japan built on technology. It is this milieu in which Yanagimachi places his characters and inside which the conflicts of the story take place. Link

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