Pekin no Suika
1989 / 135m - Japan
Beijing Watermelon poster


January 11, 2021


Another decent Ôbayashi. It seems that during the 80s and 90s he made a series of films that were somewhat easier to digest, though in the final half hour of Beijing Watermelon Ôbayashi's quirky side resurfaces. Don't expect anything too crazy, but the fourth wall is breached more than once.

Haruzo and Michi have a small vegetable job. Their lives change drastically when they meet Li, a Chinese student who doesn't have the money to buy himself a proper meal. At first Haruzo isn't very willing to help Li, but when he sees the harsh life he leads Haruzo decides to give him a hand after all.

The first 90 minutes reminded me a little of films like Tampopo. Beijing Watermelon shows a lively working class community comprised of grumpy characters that end up having a heart of gold and serves it with somewhat moderate stylistic choices. Then Ôbayashi takes a sudden turn and film and reality start to interweave (as the story is based on real life events). It's a bit long maybe, but the interesting finale makes it worth the while.