Blessing Bell (2003)

Directed by
Not my favourite Sabu film
Reviewed by Simon on 2023-03-31

The film basically follows Susumu Terajima as he walks around Tokyo, deep in thought. Along the way he encounters various odd characters at pivotal moments in their lives and silently observes, but apparently finds no answers to the questions that preoccupy him, and moves on.

I remember this being the film where it started to feel like Sabu might be stuck in a rut, which is odd since it's quite different to his earlier films in a lot of ways - I guess it was hard to see at the time, but from the perspective of a couple decades later it was clearly a sign Sabu was starting to shift into the second phase of his career.

Terajima's character is inscrutable, but thanks to the actor's expressive face there is a strong sense of inner life, even if we are not privy to the details. The characters he meets are kind of the standard Sabu set, and they are all in close proximity to death when he encounters them, one way or another. He witnesses without judging. I expect there's a religious theme there, but I couldn't unpack it for you.

I didn't like BLESSING BELL all that much when I first saw it, and it's still far from my favourite Sabu film - but that just means it's less than absolutely amazing, and it is quite a unique and memorable experience.

Obligatory observation - still waiting for that comprehensive Sabu boxset, guys!


  • Blessing Bell 003
  • Blessing Bell 009
  • Blessing Bell 016
  • Blessing Bell 032
  • Blessing Bell 025
  • Blessing Bell 049

Also known as

  • Kôfuku no kane

See also