Eclipse 1957: 黒い河

Hey, it’s been a couple of weeks since I watched a movie from Criterion’s Eclipse series, and it’s mostly been because I haven’t really been impressed with either of the two box sets I’m watching: The Louis Malle one had one fantastic movie, and then the rest have been, to use a technical term, “ehh”. And the Kobayashi films have been really disappointing.

But here we go.

One problem with the other Kobayashi films is that they’re so … schematic. I mean — “Here’s This Problem”. This may well turn out to be that way, too, but it starts off better.

OK, I was wrong. This looks great, but it’s just as didactic as his other movies. This time, it’s about a neighbourhood where Everybody Is A Character (But Poor), and they’re being evicted. I’m guessing it’s going to end in a tragedy, because Capitalism.

So again, while everything Kobayashi is saying is correct, it’s just doesn’t work well as a movie.

O… kay.

Kobayashi is trying so hard. So hard.

I just don’t understand these ratings, so I’m probably wrong and all of these Kobayashi movies are amazing.

As with the previous movies, the technicians at Shochiku are amazing — this looks amazing, from the sets to the lighting to the cinematography. And some of the performances are compelling. But I don’t think it works as a movie, so:

Black River. Masaki Kobayashi. 1957.

This blog post is part of the Eclipse series.

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