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Okiku and the World

New York Asian Film Festival

Edo-era Japan is remembered for many things — brutal nation building, isolationist foreign policies, the last samurai. Leave it to veteran auteur Junji Sakamoto to remind us that it also marked the culmination of a truly sustainable ecosystem. In his audacious, aesthetically brilliant new jidaigeki, Okiku and the World, the director achieves a perfect blend of potty humor, cutting social commentary and budding romance set amidst the fecal ubiquity of the mid-19th century. As playful as it is soulful, the film focuses on two unlikely protagonists, “manure men” Yasuke and Chunji, who collect human waste from tenement outhouses and resell it to farmers in the countryside. Chunji longs to woo lovely schoolteacher Okiku, who longs to see the world but cannot, because she must support her father, a fallen samurai. To see Sosuke Ikematsu energetically scooping out latrines; to hear Koichi Sato delivering a treatise on love to his real-life son, Kanichiro, as he battles constipation; to view the ever-demure Haru Kuroki complaining about farting — these are delights you never knew you needed, but will never forget.
(Synopsis from New York Asian Film Festival)

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[This film is NOT available to stream on SAKKA. We do not own the copyright, and this page is for informative purposes only.]


Junji Sakamoto