A Scene at the Sea | Chicago Reader

A Scene at the Sea

A deaf garbageman finds a broken surfboard on his route, repairs it, and, with the support of his girlfriend, practices until he can ride a wave. There isn't too much more plot in this exalting 1991 movie by writer-director Takeshi Kitano (Fireworks), which is silent in spirit. Shigeru (Kurodo Maki) and Takako (Hiroko Oshima), who's also deaf, don't speak and rarely use sign language; their expressions and actions are captured by a static camera with a minimalist eloquence that allows the movie to suggest all the joys and difficulties of life. There's lovely humor and the potential for conflict in several strands of the delicate story, yet the beauty of the seascape, the casually methodical attention to the logistics of surfing contests and Shigeru's gradual acquisition of equipment, and the compassionately acknowledged feelings of several peripheral characters are part of something that's more emotional than dramatic. In Japanese with subtitles.

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