Haiku reflections on Japan

The Eel

This film shows a man

rebuilding his life among

chats with his pet eel

I happened to find The Eel online last night after finding it on-line which was a nice surprise.    I had looked for it the week before and only found a trailer of it.  The story of a man who comes out of prison, where he had been put for murdering his cheating wife, and tries to rebuild his life in an unknown place.    Nice story.  He gets to meet a woman who accepts him as he is.   He`s quite noble in how he defends her against her ex-boyfriend who`s a real piece of work.   He tries not to fall for this woman at first and tries to push her away because he doesn`t believe he has any right to happiness with a woman because he loved his ex-wife but still murdered her.    All this time he has chats with his pet eel about his ex-wife which are a bit surreal.   Quite a nice story.  Kõji Yakusho plays the lead and he`s very good.

We also see a contrast between his rehabilitation into life and that of another ex-prisoner who murdered his own wife. The latter was practicing sutras and visiting his wife`s grave, thinking that would be enough to earn forgiveness and move on.  Then he`s frustrated because the main character is not doing any of this and is getting on with his life with his barbershop and a close relationship with this woman he encounters.     Definitely a must-see.

It`s otherwise interesting to see, briefly, the rather ascetic routine prisoners have to follow within prisons in Japan – no holiday camp that`s for sure  – but they also get training in certain trades.  I saw this also in Anata he (Dearest) where the male lead was a prison officer.

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