Kamimura (Yakusho) and
Tia (Christine Hakim) at
the deserted cottage.
Kamimura and his classmates.They talk about Takuji after Takuji's funeral.
The man on the left is actually a staff member named Mr.Kimura  for the
film section at Gunma Prefectural office. Director Oguri himself selected
him  for this role.
Source: "Nemuruotoko" no Kiroku
A review by  Linda C. Ehrlich
Updated on March 11, 2010
"Nemuru Otoko" directed by Kohei Oguri is a static and poetic film.  The setting is a village, which could be
found anywhere in rural Japan now.  The film shows a sequence of beautiful village scenes with mountains,
rivers and fields under four seasons.  In this village, as the seasons shift, villagers' lives also shift; a man dies
and a baby is born. The theme of this film seems to be human life and the rythm of nature on the same
level.   

One of the villagers, Kamimura(Koji Yakusho), is a middle-aged electrical shop keeper.  When the story
begins, we find that Kamimura's routine now is to visit his old primary school friend, Takuji at his home in
the village; Takuji is unconcious as a result of an accident in the mountains. Kamimura, lying down beside
Takuji, talks to him in a quite natural manner as if his friend were listening to him.  Kamimura is a man who
has long lived in the village, succeeding his father at his small electrical shop, whereas Takuji seems to have
been a great traveling man who has returned recently from a long journey to the Andes, only to end up by
going into a coma after falling down the crags of the local mountains.   

                    ............................................................................

There is nothing dramatic happens  in this film where ordinary people's mundane lives are shown; only the
glimpses of the sleeping Takuji cohere the scattered scenes.

Koji speaks each of Kamimura's lines slowly and calmly with a regional accent peculiar to Gunma
Prefecture.  Koji says in an interview that the director Kohei Oguri asked him to speak each of his lines
which do not take a minute, slowly, far from a daily conversation pace. In Oguri's view, since each scene is
very static, the performers' speaking pace must match the gradual change of scenes.

Certainly the film is benefitted by Koji's calm and mild tone of speech when he speaks some remarks
suggesting the theme of the film; and the fact that he has got a beautiful baritone voice duplicates the
impression.

                  ..................................................................................

I met the Indonesian actress, Ms Christine Hakim, who played the role of Tia in this film, at Iwanami Hall
movie theater,Kanda, Tokyo in June, 1996. 

Ms Hakim visited the theater to see the film together with the audience that day and agreed to give her
autograph to anybody who wanted it. She kindly put her autograph on the first page of my film program;
Christine in English and Hakim in Japanese (Katakana). This film program has become my treasure. She
was so beautiful! Ms Hakim's performance in this film was very impressive.
      
             Nemuru Otoko (1996)