1951-1960ClassicsDramaJapanTadashi Imai

Tadashi Imai – Kome AKA Rice (1957)

Everyday, 12 April 2006
Author: sharptongue from Sydney, Australia

The style is equivalent to the kitchen sink dramas which came to prominence in the 1950s. No kitchen sinks here, but plenty of the gritty (or, more accurately, muddy) details of everyday life on rice farms and fishing boats, where the only labour-saving device is a cow to pull a rotary hoe – and the cow is only on hire. Much screen time is devoted to planting and harvesting the rice, and catching fish and eels on the lake. Punishing work, liked by no-one.

The first half of the movie meanders among an array of characters, never staying with any one person or group for long. Added to the leisurely pace, it means you’ll need patience to get through to the second half, where the story settles mainly onto one family, who tend a small rice paddy and fish for eels. A lot more happens in the second half. A boating mishap has consequences for the main characters. However, it is still far from action-packed. Even during the dramatic moments, the pace is gentle, even when events are not.

The direction and cinematography are pretty good. Some of the scenery, in rural Ibaragi prefecture, is pleasing to the eye. The acting is uniformly excellent and convincing, though perhaps overly sincere. Overall, Rice appears to be a realistic portrait of poor rural life in Japan in the late 1950s. Reflecting real life, it’s a bit on the dull side.

1.37GB | 2h 2mn | 640×480 | avi



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