The Eel

Updated June 26, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
Director: Shohei Imamura
Writers: Motofumi Tomikawa, Daisuke Tengan and Shohei Imamura
New Yorker Films; NR; 117 minutes
Release: 8/98
Cast: Koji Yakusho, Misa Shimizu, Fujio Tsuneta, Mitsuko Baisho, Ken Kobayashi and Akira Emoto
In Japanese with English subtitles

This tale of sin and redemption, desperation and hope, shared the Palme d'Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. It's an emotionally demanding film that's often burdened by metaphors. When he finds his wife in bed with another man, Takuro (Yakusho) brutally stabs her to death and immediately turns himself in to police. After serving an eight-year sentence, he's released and emerges a melancholy, laconic man who communicates best with his pet eel. He opens a barbershop and hires a young, beautiful woman (Shimizu), who's also haunted by her past. They form a bond through their shared aloofness and the uneasiness they feel around people.

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