Koji Yakusho: Goro Yabuike
Hiroyuki Ikeuchi: Naoto Kiriyama
Ren Osugi: Nakasone
Yoiko Doguch: Chizuru Jimbo
Jun Fubuki: Mitsuko Jimbo
Yabuike (Yakusho) and a local
botanist, Jimbo (Jun Fubuki)
By Aaron Gerow (The Daily Yomiuri, February 24, 2000)
With stories of religious cults on the rampage, children killing children and schools falling apart filling the
newspapers in the last couple of years, it is not hard to feel that the order of things has gone awry. Yet with the
immensity of these problems, you still get the feeling that they might be changes brought on by forces beyond our
Goro Yabuike(Koji Yakusho), the hero of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's magnificent new film "Charisma", is confronted with
such a problem. The police officer tries to convince a man holding a Diet member hostage to give himself up but is
given a note: "Restore the order of things!" Yabuike draws his pistol, but as if affected by the note, he refuses to
fire. Wouldn't it be possible, he figures, to save the hostage-taker as well as the hostage?
From the very beginning of this, one of the most intensely moral introspections in recent Japanese film, Kurosawa
poses the problem: does one have to choose between one or the other dying or does the order of things allow for
other options? This question he refines when Yabuike, thrown out of not only the police force but in some ways also
society, wanders into an otherworldly, almost allegorical forest where a similar ethical drama unfolding.
Nakasone (Ren Osugi) and his men are trying to replant the forest, but all their saplings are dying. They think the
cause is mysterious, almost lifeless tree called Charisma, which is being meticulously cared for on private property
by Kiriyama (Hiroyuki Ikeuchi), a former patient at a sanitarium, now in ruins, nearby. Mitsuko Jimbo, a local
botanist, confirms this theory to Yabuike: the tree, brought in by the former sanitarium director, is alien to this
region and is poisoning the ecosystem. If you want to save the forest, you must kill Charisma; if Charisma is to live,
then the forest will die.
Yabuike is thus confronted with one of the central dilemmas of human society: is the individual more important
than the group? or can these contradictory elements somehow coexist? ...........
Mr. MARK SCHILLING's comment about Koji Yakusho is brilliant!
"With the broadest range of any Japanese actor working today, Koji Yakusho is well equipped to portray Yabuike's
slow coming to awareness, while never losing sight of his common man appeal. Nonetheless, his Yabuike is not a
hero in the usual sense. He also has blood on his hands -- and knows no easy way to cleanse it."
Yabuike starts taking care of a
tree, called "Charisma".
Yakusho and the director,
The director of CHARISMA is Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who worked with
Yakusho in CURE and NINGEN GOKAKU (License to Live).
CHARISMA is based on a scenario Kurosawa wrote several years ago.
With it he won a scholarship award at the Sundance Film Festival directed
by Robert Redford.
Interview with Kiyoshi Kurosawa
(Midnight Eye: March 20, 2001)
Kiyoshi Kurosawa talks about
"Cure", "Charisma", "Kairo", "ko-rei,
"Barren Illusion" , and Koji Yakusho
Updated on January 14, 2009