August 14, 2021
Another great Ôbayashi comedy. It's really unfortunate to see how such a rich and varied oeuvre remained under the radar for so long, especially when Ôbayashi did make several cult films that made the rounds. It's never too late to discover great films though, so I'm glad he's received some renewed attention these past couple of years.
Bound for the Fields is set in pre-WWII Japan. The country is starting to ready itself for the coming war, but the children in a small rural town don't understand what all the fuss is about. Two young bullies are forced to work together when the sister of one of them is about to be sold to a brothel.
Ôbayashi does what he does best. A light rural drama is mixes with quirky comedy and light fantasy elements. It's a fun, lively film that never bores despite it's rather long runtime. The lush black and white cinematography certainly plays a part in that (beware, there's also a color version), but it's really Ôbayashi's splendid direction that ties everything together. Very nice.