Black Rain (1989)

Directed by
Not as traumatic as I'd been expecting
Reviewed by Simon on 2023-09-29

I have been meaning to watch Shohei Imamura's BLACK RAIN for years if not decades, but kept putting it off because everyone talks about how bleak and harrowing it is, which requires a certain mood. Having finally seen it, whilst it's obviously not a cheerful film, it's child's play compared to GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES.

Black Rain follows the fortunes of a family that fled Hiroshima after it was levelled by the atomic bomb, skipping ahead to a time when the effects of radiation exposure are starting to take their toll on the survivors.,

Where Grave of the Fireflies dives into the abyss, Black Rain only skims the surface. Despite the hardships the characters endure, the main sentiments evoked are of endurance and resilience, as they try to return to their normal way of life, even as they falter in those efforts.

The black and white cinematography makes the film feel much older than it actually is - I would have believed it was made in the 1960's or even 1950's if I hadn't known better. I suppose the point was that it resembles the films that were made around the time it is set, making it feel more like a testament.

The absence of colour focuses the story firmly on the characters. The suffering, resilience, and sorrow of the characters are foregrounded against a backdrop that feels rooted in truth.