Kihachi Okamoto – Nikudan aka The Human Bullet (1968)

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Quote:
The summer of 1945. As a “human bullet” of the Kamikaze Unit, 21-year-old “he” is inside a drum with a torpedo. While he waits, he looks back on a short adolescence, reminiscing on the harsh training, a friendly bookstore, and a girl he loved. A complement to The Emperor and a General, and based on personal experience, Okamoto comically portrays the stupidity of war as well as the sentiments of youth. Though filmed on a low budget as an independent production, the tone of the 16mm image, the dry and humorous monologues and the surreal beach scene etc. create a unique effect. Continue reading

Kihachi Okamoto – Eburi manshi no yûga-na seikatsu AKA The Elegant Life Of Mr. Everyman (1963)

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Quote:
Eburi is a 36 year-old man. Nothing enthuses him any more. While being drunk, he promises to contribute a story to a magazine. When he sobers down, he decides to write about the life of a salaried employee like himself who is very ordinary, not particularly talented.
The following is his story:
In 1949, Eburi gets married to Natsuko. His monthly salary is 8,000 yen and hers 4,000 yen. Therefore, both have to work to support themselves. Eburi has developed a habituIl tendency to pester around when he gets drunk. One year after their marriage, son Shosuke is born. In 1959, Eburi’s mother dies in despair of her husband who has become listless due to the several ups and downs of gaining big profits and going bankrupt. His father is still alive and Eburi is enable to find a way to pay his father’s debts. He is doubtful if he can make his wife and child happy. Nevertheless, he has somehow managed to survive so far, living in one of the houses at the employee housing quarters. He gives the title “The Elegant Life of Mr. Everyman” to his story of half novel and half essay style. When it is published, it receives the Naoki Literary Prize (the award given in memory of popular writer Naoki Sanjugo). At a party to celebrate his award, he gets drunk and pesters around. Continue reading