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Hailed as a contemporary classic of Japanese cinema upon its release in North America, this moving drama about a young boy who is forced to confront the cruelty and hypocrisy of the adult world is a masterwork of humanist filmmaking.
"An exceptional entertainment worthy of comparison with the great works from the Golden Age of Mizoguchi, Kurosawa, and Ozu" (Andrew Sarris). We are proud to present the first screening in Toronto in more than two decades of a film widely considered to be a classic of postwar Japanese cinema. Set in 1956, the film centres on Nobuo, the nine-year-old son of a couple eking out a living with their tiny waterside restaurant on Osaka's Aji River. The father, dispirited by his experience in the war a decade before, worries that his beloved only child is feeble, and encourages Nobuo's friendship with a boy and girl whose houseboat appears near their mooring. When his new friends' beautiful widowed mother is revealed to be a prostitute, Nobuo is forced to confront the cruelty of his classmates and the hypocrisy of the adult world. Delicately observed, poignantly acted and superbly shot in black and white, Muddy River marked Kohei Oguri's emergence as a master of humanist filmmaking and "deserves instant rank with such classics about children in an adult world as Forbidden Games and Spirit of the Beehive. . . . One of the best films about children ever made" (Sarris).