The Eel

Nov 10, 2007

Shohei Imamura, 1997, Japan, 35mm, 117 min

A man, acting on an anonymous tip, finds his wife in bed with another man. In a fit of rage he stabs her to death. Eight years later, after being released from prison, he moves to a small, lakeside town and opens a barbershop. In the corner of the shop is an aquarium housing his companion from his prison stay, his pet eel - the only living thing he will talk to. Eventually, the town's eccentric characters accept the man and happily make his barbershop their meeting place, while he, desperate to forget his past, guards against any attraction he may feel for women. One day he happens upon a young woman unconscious after a suicide attempt. Once recovered, she comes to work for him in the shop. She would like to know him more intimately, but he remains reluctant. He soon learns, however, that she has a past every bit as painful as his own.

More on Imamura

"[Imamura] marshals a small cast of vivid characters that enable him not only to bare the passions that seethe beneath the orderly surface and apparent conformity of Japanese life, but also to ponder emotions and issues that know no nationality."–THE NEW YORK TIMES

<Back to Calendar