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Daibyonin 1993
Description: A successful Japanese film director in his 60s becomes increasingly ill while working on his recent film. His family, friends, and doctor test to hold the secret of his terminal cancer from him, but it gradually becomes clear. Coming to terms with his own mortality is painful, and involves some major conflicts with his wife and the hospital staff.
Released: 29 May 1993 Director: Jûzô Itami Writers: Jûzô Itami Actors: Rentarô Mikuni, Masahiko Tsugawa, Nobuko Miyamoto, Yoshiki Arizono Genres: Comedy, Drama
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Daibyonin Reviews:

This is the most somber Juzo Itami film that I have seen.While it does include some humor and pretty side plots, for the most part, the film is a serious exploration of two aspects of death, one familiar to American audiences other rather uniquely Japanese.The first (familiar) trouble is the death-with-dignity issue. Could each last conceivable attempt be made to extend the life of a hopelessly terminally ill patient? Even at the expense of intensified suffering of both patient and family at the end of life?The second (uniquely Japanese) question is whether the doctor and family members could be candid with a terminally ill patient about the real nature of his illness. Until fairly recently (like the late 1990s) both the Japanese medical community and Japanese society in general were firmly convinced that it was better to test to hold the patient hoping for recovery for few reasons, among them that sometimes the patient's own hope can be more strong than the most advanced efforts of Western medicine in curing the patient. The handling of these two themes is graphic and intense. The portrayal of the medical treatments is incredibly technically detailed as well. The performance of Masahiko Tsugawa as Dr. Ogata is extremely convincing and among the greatest work of this actor's career.Towards, the end of the movie, the results around the patient's out-of-body experiences are also extremely constructive and technically superb, even by today's standards, much less for 1993 before the advent of digital-everything.There is also a magnificent sequence of one of the key Buddhist sutras set to classical melody towards the end of the film as well.Overall this is a nice movie. However, if you are looking for a light-hearted romp along the lines of "Tampopo" this film is not for you.


** Warning: If should be interpreted as a spoiler, then there is a spoiler. This is one of my most favorite films of all, hence the 9 out of 10. It is rare to have a film that deals with serious subject like this in a light manner, that let one to play the adventure of the problems raised in comedic ways. The end of the film is a tiny various from the rest of the movie, but constructive and interesting. The music, I would have to say, is something special. I would love to receive my hands on this soundtrack. There is no need to give an outline of this story, as with another reviews, but it is simple to follow the main hero ('as the victim') and say what he is thinking as he encounters a range of problems and attempts to resolve them in the movie. One can only love the desperate efforts that the hero makes to receive himself out of issues - which should also be seen to be a portrayal of the helpless weakness shown in the main hero being portrayed.



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