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Director Mitsuo Yanagimachi evokes Bresson and Mizoguchi in this portrait of an alienated, amphetamine-addicted loner in rural Japan at odds with his family, friends, and society at large.
"As rich a panorama of modern Japan as any I've seen" (J. Hoberman, The Village Voice), Farewell to the Land was the second feature of the great Mitsuo Yanagimachi, who subsequently proved himself a major auteur with such films as Himatsuri. Influenced by Bresson and Mizoguchi, Farewell takes a detached view of its protagonist Yukio (Jinpachi Nezu), an ex-farmer working as a dump-truck driver in Kashima. Haunted by the drowning of his two young sons, whose names he has had tattooed on his back in penance, and locked in a sibling rivalry with his traditional but urbane younger brother who lives in Tokyo, Yukio has become an amphetamine-addicted loner at odds with his family, friends and colleagues — an alienation that, as the film's title suggests, seems to derive from the industrialization of his farming community. Ever attuned to the mystical and the carnal, Yanagimachi stages a succession of striking sequences — a funeral set during an eclipse, sex in a pigpen — on the way to an overwhelming finale. "A film of luminous clarity, always arresting, ultimately devastating" (Tony Rayns).