Black Rain


2h 6m 1989

Brief Synopsis

Tough cops Nick Conklin and Charlie Vincent break up a Yakuza crime ring in New York and escort a Japanese killer back to his home country. The criminal escapes, and the two detectives are forced to team up with the Tokyo police to track him down. Along the way, they find themselves drawn ever deepe

Film Details

Also Known As
Pioggia Sporca
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1989
Distribution Company
FESTIVAL FILMS/PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Location
Northern California, USA; Silvercup Studios, New York City, New York, USA; Osaka, Japan

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 6m

Synopsis

Tough cops Nick Conklin and Charlie Vincent break up a Yakuza crime ring in New York and escort a Japanese killer back to his home country. The criminal escapes, and the two detectives are forced to team up with the Tokyo police to track him down. Along the way, they find themselves drawn ever deeper into a culture of corruption and violence that threatens to turn them into the kind of men they hunt for a living.

Crew

Richard W Adams

Sound Editor

Richard T Allen

Construction Coordinator

Gregg Allman

Song Performer

Richard Alonzo

Prosthetics

Jay Amor

Stunts

Rubin A Andreatta

Other

Allan Apone

Prosthetics

Howard Atherton

Photography

Larry Aube

Grip

David Augsburger

Assistant Camera Operator

Ed Ayer

Lighting Technician

Gregory J Barnett

Stunts

Bobby Bass

Stunt Coordinator

Richard J Bayard

Construction Coordinator

James Bayliss

Set Designer

James H Betts

Other

Rob Blatman

Photography

Fred Blau Jr.

Makeup

Kathryn Blondell

Hair

Leslie Bloom

Set Decorator

Craig Bolotin

Screenplay

Craig Bolotin

Executive Producer

Mary Ellen Brennan

Video

Jack Brooks

Song

Commander Alan Brown Usnr

Dialogue Coach

Buz Brown

Photography

Pete Bucossi

Stunts

Cary Burns

Assistant

Milton C Burrow

Sound Editor

Neil Burrow

Sound Editor

Scott Burrow

Sound Editor

Kevin R. Buxbaum

Accountant

Jacqueline Cambas

Editing

William A Campbell

Wardrobe Supervisor

David Canestra

Grip

Laura Carriker

Production Assistant

Fred Caruso

Producer

Jeff Chamberlain

Dialogue Coach

Ray Charles

Song

Phil Chong

Stunts

Gary A. Clark

Other

Maggie Constantinidis

Assistant

Michael Coo

Dolly Grip

Dianne Crittenden

Casting

Gregroy J Curda

Foley Mixer

William A Curry

Transportation Captain

Yasushi Daikoji

Property Master

Bobby Darin

Song Performer

Gordon Davidson

Sound Editor

Gary Charles Davis

Stunts

Jan De Bont

Director Of Photography

Richard Dean

Makeup

Jerry Deblau

Lighting Technician

John Deblau

Lighting Technician

Mel D Dellar

Unit Production Manager

Peter Depalma

Assistant

Stephen Dewey

Sound Effects

Joy Dickson

Casting Associate

Steve Dobbins

Casting

James E Dolan

Lighting Technician

Robert Doyle

Location Manager

Ken Dufva

Foley Artist

Andy Duppin

Stunts

John M. Dwyer

Set Decorator

Jodi Ehrlich

Assistant Director

Susumu Ejima

Location Manager

Kenny Endoso

Stunts

Dan Engstrom

Sound Editor

Kazuaki Enomoto

Location Manager

Lisa Grace Erndt

Costumes

Mary Evans

Song Performer

David Fein

Foley Artist

Glen R. Feldman

Property Master

Frank Ferrara

Stunts

Kim Festa

Assistant

Bettiann Fishman

Assistant Director

Jim Flamberg

Music Editor

Nancy Frazen

Assistant Editor

Dan Furst

Dialogue Coach

Steve Gage

Grip

Arnold Gargiulo

Prosthetics

Lee Garibaldi

Transportation Co-Captain

Katy Garretson

Dga Trainee

James V Gartland

Grip

Vincent Gerardo

Assistant Camera Operator

William Gerardo

Assistant Camera Operator

Mimi Polk Gitlin

Production Associate

Cellin Gluck

Production Assistant

Garet Gluck

Apprentice

Richard Goddard

Set Decorator

Anthony Goldschmidt

Main Title Design

William Gordean

Editing

Al Goto

Stunts

Mark C Grech

Sound

Douglas Greenfield

Consultant

Albert Griswold

Special Effects

Joseph L Gruca

Costumes

Craig Haagensen

Camera Operator

Kenneth Haber

Location Manager

Michael Hancock

Makeup

Howard J Hand

Assistant Camera Operator

John Hateley

Stunts

Michiyo Hayashi

Assistant

Aubrey Head

Color Timer

John Alan Hicks

Set Decorator

John G Hill

Sound Editor

Michael W Hirabayashi

Technical Advisor

Masahiro Hirose

Transportation Manager

Peter Hock

Stunts

Nellee Hooper

Song

Paul Hooper

Song

Kenichi Horii

Location Manager

Michael Hunter

Property Master Assistant

Daishi Ichizawa

Stunts

Brian Imada

Stunts

Yasue Ishikawa

Makeup

Yasue Ishikawa

Hair

Steven Ito

Stunts

Claudio Jacobellis

Production Assistant

Stanley R. Jaffe

Producer

David James

Photography

Roger Janson

Foreman

Debra D Jeffreys

Assistant

Will Jennings

Song

Thomas B Jones

Craft Service

Susan V Kalinowski

Hair

Keiko Kanzaki

Assistant

Alan S Kaye

Set Designer

John Kayton

Stunts

Carol Keith

Assistant

Michael Kelem

Photography

Julie Kirkham

Executive Producer

Eric Klosterman

Location Manager

Luca Kouimelis

Script Supervisor

Sherman Labby

Visual Effects

Terry Ladin

Production Coordinator

Sherry Lansing

Producer

Simon Law

Song

Jack Lawrence

Song

David R Lawson

Other

Danny Lee

Stunts

Geoff Lee

Stunts

Geoff M Lee

Stunts

Leo Lee

Stunts

Al Leon

Stunts

Loren Levy

Props

Bob Lewis

Assistant Director

Warren Lewis

Screenplay

David Lewiston

Song

James Lovelett

Stunts

Robert Maddy

Set Designer

Harry Madsen

Stunts

Ron Mael

Song

Russell Mael

Song

Dennis Maguire

Assistant Director

Mark Maitre

Prosthetics

Yuriko Mameshiro

Accountant

Bobby Mancuso

Assistant Camera Operator

Kelly L Manger

Sound Editor

William L Manger

Sound Editor

Carol Mann

Assistant

Larry Mann

Sound Editor

Debra L. Manwiller

Casting Associate

Neal Martz

Prosthetics

Elaine P Maser

Costumes

Nicholas J. Masuraca

Assistant Camera Operator

John H Matheson

Foreman

Patt Mccurdy

Production Coordinator

Kim Mclaren

Accounting Assistant

Alison Meyer

Production Assistant

Ellen Mirojnick

Costume Designer

Donald O Mitchell

Sound

Yosuke Mizuno

Line Producer

John J. Moore

Art Director

Justin Moritt

Production Assistant

Nobuaki Murooka

Casting

Koichi Nakajima

Technical Advisor

Mitsuyoshi Nakamura

Grip

David R Newhouse

Other

David Nowell

Photography

Trisha O'brien

Assistant

Kevin O'connell

Sound

Wendy Oates

Looping Coordinator

Mitsuko Oki

Assistant

Takeshi Okubo

Lighting Technician

Richard L Oswald

Sound Editor

David Paich

Song

Stan Parks

Special Effects Supervisor

Jennifer Parsons

Costume Supervisor

George Patsos

Grip

William Patsos

Dolly Grip

Kenneth Payton

Assistant Director

Kenneth Pepiot

Special Effects

Deborah Peretz

Assistant Editor

Jennifer Pinkerton

Assistant

Iggy Pop

Song Performer

Aldric Porter

Assistant Director

Alan Poul

Associate Producer

Kevin S Quibell

Special Effects

Lyndell Quiyou

Hair

Film Details

Also Known As
Pioggia Sporca
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1989
Distribution Company
FESTIVAL FILMS/PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Location
Northern California, USA; Silvercup Studios, New York City, New York, USA; Osaka, Japan

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 6m

Award Nominations

Best Sound

1989

Best Sound Effects Sound Editing

1989

Articles

Black Rain - BLACK RAIN - Shohei Imamura's 1989 Film on the Death and Devastation Caused by the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima


Over sixty years later, political debate about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings shows no sign of resolution. American movies and television miniseries on the bombings have understandably been made from the victor's point of view. MGM's unrepentant Above and Beyond (1952) presents a highly biased U.S. Army version of events. Later Hollywood productions frequently downplay the wartime context and emphasize the bombing as an unjustifiable atrocity.

American occupation censorship prohibited Japanese filmmakers from addressing topical issues for almost seven years after the surrender, but independence brought no wave of historical introspection. Akira Kurosawa's forthright look at atom-age anxiety I Live in Fear (Record of a Living Being) did not start a trend. A few Japanese fantasies (1954's Gojira) approached the issue, but only at a stylized remove. Science fiction scare pictures from the height of the Cold War (The Last War, The Final War) pictured Japan as a helpless pawn trapped between dominant aggressor nations.

The United States censorship and military secrecy have left harrowing personal accounts as the only record of the post-bombing horrors. In 1989 Japanese director Shohei Imamura (Pigs and Battleships, The Insect Woman, Vengeance is Mine (Kuroi ame) ) made Black Rain from Masuji Ibuse's account of the lingering effects of the bombing. Perceiving the need to remind his country of the truth of the atomic horror, the normally confrontational director exercises notable restraint. Imamura called his approach "a quiet voice" but his movie is emotionally wrenching just the same.

Young Yasuko (Yoshiko Tanaka) has relocated to Hiroshima to be safe from firebombings and avoid conscripted labor in a war factory. Although she's not in the city when the atom bomb hits, she returns immediately by boat and is caught in a shower of 'black rain' -- precipitation filled with radioactive soot from the mushroom cloud. Yasuko joins her uncle Shigematsu and aunt Shigeko (Kazuo Kitamura & Etsuko Ichihara) to cross the devastated city, avoiding fires and downed power lines. They come across blast victims both dead and alive that they can hardly bear to look at. Shigematsu's company supervisor sends him to a Buddhist monastery for a crash course in administering last rites to the dead.

Five years later, Yasuko is living with her Uncle and Aunt in a rural community. They're acutely aware that the Americans may use atomic weapons in the Korean conflict. Some of their neighbors are blast victims with chronic radiation-sourced illnesses. All live with the possibility that they may fall sick and die without warning. The apparently healthy Yasuko attempts to find a husband through a matchmaker, only to be turned down when her prospective in-laws learn of her undesirable status as a Hiroshima survivor. Nobody really knows what the long-term effects of radiation poisoning will be, but nobody is optimistic. Then the community is hit by a wave of sickness and death. Yasuko isn't convinced that her legal bill of health document will spare her, as she entered the city on the first afternoon of the bombing. And of course, there was that black rain ...

Black Rain sees the bombing as a twofold curse upon Yasuko. Although everyone's case is different, the damage done by radiation acts like a delayed fuse, hitting years after the exposure. The townspeople monitor their red blood cell count and set their hopes on various kinds of home remedies like drinking fish blood. Others fall back on Buddhist faith healers. Yasuko has become a social pariah in a community that considers her damaged goods. Just by mentioning Hiroshima, her matchmaker sees a good marriage arrangement ruined. When an eager and desirable suitor shows up, she can't help but tell him of her status. He doesn't care, but his family immediately withdraws from the wedding plan, without explanation.

The actual bombing is depicted in several episodes spread out through the narrative. Yasuko watches the mushroom cloud from several miles away, but Uncle Shigetmatsu and Aunt Sigeko are right in town when the blast hits. Shigematsu's train car is overturned and his face is cut, but otherwise both he and his wife are unscathed. When Yasuko joins them they decide to go to Uncle's company by crossing through the center of town. Many survivors are wounded and burned, and many are in shock; others cry out from beneath burning buildings. A boy is convinced that a horribly burned "thing" is his brother only after he recognizes his brother's belt. At the city center, dead bodies have been turned into human-shaped pieces of charcoal -- adults, children and babies.

Yoshiko Tanaka is highly sympathetic as the teenaged Yasuko, a cute girl with normal ambitions who sees her life reduced to an ever-narrowing set of unhappy choices. She eventually gravitates toward Yuichi (Keisuke Ishida), a mentally ill sculptor who suffers from a serious wartime stress disorder. The two outcasts find a brief calm in each other's company.

Black Rain is clearly designed as a memorial to the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, for a world too quick to forget. A final pacifist sentiment declares that, in terms of human suffering, an unjust peace is always preferable to a just war. For all its depiction of the horrors of the bombing, the film is remarkably free of political bias. One bitter criticism reportedly leveled at Above and Beyond is its contention that the U.S. Army Air Corps dropped leaflets over Hiroshima warning the city's residents to evacuate, an event that the critic claimed never happened. But Black Rain, a Japanese film taken from eyewitness reports, shows the leaflets are being dropped. Despite the fact that the American military suppressed and distorted facts of the bombing, Imamura's film demonstrates that misinformation still persists on both sides of the argument.

AnimEigo's DVD of Black Rain is quality disc that far surpasses the original 1998 Image release. The sharp enhanced B&W image captures the film's original range of grays. The string-heavy score by Toru Takemitsu does not reach for sentimental effects. AnimEigo's carefully researched subtitles include "footnote" subs explaining unfamiliar phrases.

An impressive selection of extras begin with a surprise, a seventeen-minute discarded color ending that brings the story to a close in 1965. It's a toss-up as to whether the alternate ending should have been retained. Although we're happy to see the film reach closure -- even one as strange as this -- the color footage is a stylistic departure from what has gone before. Yoshiko Tanaka's makeup and acting are very convincing in this almost religious coda.

Ms. Tanaka also appears in a newer interview, admitting that she has never seen the other ending until now. Director Takashi Miike speaks briefly about the hard work of assisting Shohei Imamura. AnimEigo's generous text files clarify concepts brought up in the film's dialogue and sketch the basics of the still-current controversy over President Truman's decision to drop the bomb. A multimedia gallery presents several American short wartime information films designed to foster hatred of the Japanese people and encourage their extermination. This fine DVD edition of Black Rain is an excellent place for the uninformed to begin an examination of the Hiroshima bombing.

Reference: Article Black Rain: Reflections on Hiroshima and Nuclear War in Japanese Film, Robert Felippa, 2003, Crosscurrents

For more information about Black Rain, visit AnimEigo. To order Black Rain, go to TCM Shopping.

by Glenn Erickson

Black Rain - Black Rain - Shohei Imamura's 1989 Film On The Death And Devastation Caused By The Atomic Bombing Of Hiroshima

Black Rain - BLACK RAIN - Shohei Imamura's 1989 Film on the Death and Devastation Caused by the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima

Over sixty years later, political debate about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings shows no sign of resolution. American movies and television miniseries on the bombings have understandably been made from the victor's point of view. MGM's unrepentant Above and Beyond (1952) presents a highly biased U.S. Army version of events. Later Hollywood productions frequently downplay the wartime context and emphasize the bombing as an unjustifiable atrocity. American occupation censorship prohibited Japanese filmmakers from addressing topical issues for almost seven years after the surrender, but independence brought no wave of historical introspection. Akira Kurosawa's forthright look at atom-age anxiety I Live in Fear (Record of a Living Being) did not start a trend. A few Japanese fantasies (1954's Gojira) approached the issue, but only at a stylized remove. Science fiction scare pictures from the height of the Cold War (The Last War, The Final War) pictured Japan as a helpless pawn trapped between dominant aggressor nations. The United States censorship and military secrecy have left harrowing personal accounts as the only record of the post-bombing horrors. In 1989 Japanese director Shohei Imamura (Pigs and Battleships, The Insect Woman, Vengeance is Mine (Kuroi ame) ) made Black Rain from Masuji Ibuse's account of the lingering effects of the bombing. Perceiving the need to remind his country of the truth of the atomic horror, the normally confrontational director exercises notable restraint. Imamura called his approach "a quiet voice" but his movie is emotionally wrenching just the same. Young Yasuko (Yoshiko Tanaka) has relocated to Hiroshima to be safe from firebombings and avoid conscripted labor in a war factory. Although she's not in the city when the atom bomb hits, she returns immediately by boat and is caught in a shower of 'black rain' -- precipitation filled with radioactive soot from the mushroom cloud. Yasuko joins her uncle Shigematsu and aunt Shigeko (Kazuo Kitamura & Etsuko Ichihara) to cross the devastated city, avoiding fires and downed power lines. They come across blast victims both dead and alive that they can hardly bear to look at. Shigematsu's company supervisor sends him to a Buddhist monastery for a crash course in administering last rites to the dead. Five years later, Yasuko is living with her Uncle and Aunt in a rural community. They're acutely aware that the Americans may use atomic weapons in the Korean conflict. Some of their neighbors are blast victims with chronic radiation-sourced illnesses. All live with the possibility that they may fall sick and die without warning. The apparently healthy Yasuko attempts to find a husband through a matchmaker, only to be turned down when her prospective in-laws learn of her undesirable status as a Hiroshima survivor. Nobody really knows what the long-term effects of radiation poisoning will be, but nobody is optimistic. Then the community is hit by a wave of sickness and death. Yasuko isn't convinced that her legal bill of health document will spare her, as she entered the city on the first afternoon of the bombing. And of course, there was that black rain ... Black Rain sees the bombing as a twofold curse upon Yasuko. Although everyone's case is different, the damage done by radiation acts like a delayed fuse, hitting years after the exposure. The townspeople monitor their red blood cell count and set their hopes on various kinds of home remedies like drinking fish blood. Others fall back on Buddhist faith healers. Yasuko has become a social pariah in a community that considers her damaged goods. Just by mentioning Hiroshima, her matchmaker sees a good marriage arrangement ruined. When an eager and desirable suitor shows up, she can't help but tell him of her status. He doesn't care, but his family immediately withdraws from the wedding plan, without explanation. The actual bombing is depicted in several episodes spread out through the narrative. Yasuko watches the mushroom cloud from several miles away, but Uncle Shigetmatsu and Aunt Sigeko are right in town when the blast hits. Shigematsu's train car is overturned and his face is cut, but otherwise both he and his wife are unscathed. When Yasuko joins them they decide to go to Uncle's company by crossing through the center of town. Many survivors are wounded and burned, and many are in shock; others cry out from beneath burning buildings. A boy is convinced that a horribly burned "thing" is his brother only after he recognizes his brother's belt. At the city center, dead bodies have been turned into human-shaped pieces of charcoal -- adults, children and babies. Yoshiko Tanaka is highly sympathetic as the teenaged Yasuko, a cute girl with normal ambitions who sees her life reduced to an ever-narrowing set of unhappy choices. She eventually gravitates toward Yuichi (Keisuke Ishida), a mentally ill sculptor who suffers from a serious wartime stress disorder. The two outcasts find a brief calm in each other's company. Black Rain is clearly designed as a memorial to the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, for a world too quick to forget. A final pacifist sentiment declares that, in terms of human suffering, an unjust peace is always preferable to a just war. For all its depiction of the horrors of the bombing, the film is remarkably free of political bias. One bitter criticism reportedly leveled at Above and Beyond is its contention that the U.S. Army Air Corps dropped leaflets over Hiroshima warning the city's residents to evacuate, an event that the critic claimed never happened. But Black Rain, a Japanese film taken from eyewitness reports, shows the leaflets are being dropped. Despite the fact that the American military suppressed and distorted facts of the bombing, Imamura's film demonstrates that misinformation still persists on both sides of the argument. AnimEigo's DVD of Black Rain is quality disc that far surpasses the original 1998 Image release. The sharp enhanced B&W image captures the film's original range of grays. The string-heavy score by Toru Takemitsu does not reach for sentimental effects. AnimEigo's carefully researched subtitles include "footnote" subs explaining unfamiliar phrases. An impressive selection of extras begin with a surprise, a seventeen-minute discarded color ending that brings the story to a close in 1965. It's a toss-up as to whether the alternate ending should have been retained. Although we're happy to see the film reach closure -- even one as strange as this -- the color footage is a stylistic departure from what has gone before. Yoshiko Tanaka's makeup and acting are very convincing in this almost religious coda. Ms. Tanaka also appears in a newer interview, admitting that she has never seen the other ending until now. Director Takashi Miike speaks briefly about the hard work of assisting Shohei Imamura. AnimEigo's generous text files clarify concepts brought up in the film's dialogue and sketch the basics of the still-current controversy over President Truman's decision to drop the bomb. A multimedia gallery presents several American short wartime information films designed to foster hatred of the Japanese people and encourage their extermination. This fine DVD edition of Black Rain is an excellent place for the uninformed to begin an examination of the Hiroshima bombing. Reference: Article Black Rain: Reflections on Hiroshima and Nuclear War in Japanese Film, Robert Felippa, 2003, Crosscurrents For more information about Black Rain, visit AnimEigo. To order Black Rain, go to TCM Shopping. by Glenn Erickson

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall September 22, 1989

Released in United States on Video April 19, 1990

Released in United States October 5, 1989

Shown at Tokyo International Film Festival October 5, 1989.

Began shooting October 31, 1988.

Completed shooting March 1989.

Released in United States Fall September 22, 1989

Released in United States October 5, 1989 (Shown at Tokyo International Film Festival October 5, 1989.)

Released in United States on Video April 19, 1990