Note: This seventeenth entry in the towering Allan Fish Bonanza Encore series was recommended by Allan’s great friend ‘James’, who has long appreciated Allan’s tireless attention to great cinema that never received the proper exposure. ‘A Promise’ was directed by one of Allan’s favorite directors, Yoshishige Yoshida.
by Allan Fish
(Japan 1986 123m) DVD2 (France only, no English subs)
Aka. Ningen no Yakusoku; A Human Promise
Let me die
p Yusuyo Saito, Matsuo Takahashi d Yoshishige Yoshida w Yoshishige Yoshida, Fukiko Kiyauchi ph Yoshihiro Yamazaki ed Akira Suzuki m Haruomi Hosano art Yoshie Kikukawa
Rentaro Mikuni (Ryosaku Morimoto), Sachiko Murase (Tatsu Morimoto), Choichiro Kawarazaki (Yoshio), Orie Sato (Ritsuko), Tetta Sugimoto (Takao), Kumikmo Takeda (Naoko), Koichi Sato (Detective Yoshikawa), Choei Takahashi (Takeya Nakamura),
It was one of those returns from the wilderness, like Moses leading the faithful through 40 years in the desert. Like Lean before him and Kubrick and Malick to come, Yoshida’s return was something to rejoice about, or at least would have been if anyone in the west (France aside) had cared or known who he was. His previous film, Coup d’Etat, had been 13 years previously, and he had entered middle-age, 52 when the film was shot.
An old woman, Tatsu, has died. The police arrive and ask questions of her old widow, Ryosaku, who openly confesses to killing her. He’s suffering from dementia so the authorities take his confession if not lightly then with due caution. The film then goes back to the events leading up to the death, with Yoshio shown to be unfaithful to his wife, Ritsuko, whose bitterness about having to take care of her in-laws and Tatsu’s hysterical accusations towards her, are turning her inside out. Meanwhile, Yoshio’s children have differing feelings about the subject, from daughter Naoko’s concern for her elderly grandparents to Takao’s callous references to them as no longer their family, merely animals to be put in a home like animals in a zoo. Continue Reading »