Warm Water Under A Red Bridge (2002)

Warm Water Under A Red BridgeInspired by a homeless man’s story, Yosuke (Koji Yakusho), an unemployed businessman, travels to a remote seaside village where a golden Buddha stolen from a Kyoto temple is supposedly hidden. Instead, Yosuke finds Saeko (Misa Shimizu), a woman with an odd affliction: She fills up with water, and when she’s full, she leaks … and the only way to express the fluid is to make love.

Starring: Isao Natsuyagi, Koji Yakusho, More

Director: Shohei Imamura

Genre: Foreign Language & Int’l

Language: Japanese

Subtitles: English

A note about the director: Perhaps the world’s greatest little known director, Shohei Imamura is in fact one of only two directors to ever claimed more than one Palme d’Or from the Cannes Film Festival. A formative figure and leader of Japanese cinema’s New Wave, Imamura is as widely revered in Japan as Kurosawa is known worldwide.

Just in case there are any concerns about graphic sexual content, in spite of the subject matter, you needn’t worry. This is a Japanese film, done by a highly respected director so worry not! Yes the love scenes between our delightful leads are outrageous, as you can imagine, but they tastefully as well as rather humorously framed.

Yosuke, the unemployed businessman, has a circle of friends that by society’s description are homeless vagrants. One of them named Taro, also known as the blue tent philosopher, is indirectly a spiritual teacher of sorts to Yosuke. It is Taro that influences Yosuke to seek the treasure of a golden Buddha that he claims to have stolen from a Kyoto temple. The existence of this treasure is of course in doubt due to Taro’s status as a vagrant. It is during this quest that he finds the strangely afflicted character Saeko, and we begin to wonder as to the true nature of the treasure he was sent to seek!

Director Imamura is renowned for his fondness for the use of characters from the uneducated lower classes. “The lower part of the body and lower part of the social structure” allowing for the exploration of irrational and limiting belief structure of Japanese and human life. The characters, Taro and Saeko’s grandmother, are the best examples out of many in this film, of Imamura’s style in this respect. I don’t want to say too much so as to not spoil it, but pay special attention to these characters that fall into the status of a lower social order! It is there you’ll fin the gems of awareness!

There are several subtle references to sacred sex beliefs as found in the Kama Sutra and eastern tantric traditions and an understanding of these really helps the viewer to understand the depth of the message in this film, which is alludes to the subtle or energetic body and the interconnection of all life, all beings and everything that exists through a cosmically sourced energy that animates it all. (See the book recommendation at the end of this review.) There is a terrific scene that takes place at a modern research facility where the nature of neutrinos is being studied. The true relevance of the scene is revealed with a description of one of the necessary ingredients of that research.

The most profound lesson in this film, besides the realization of the unifying energy field that supports life, is the idea that the intention that you bring, to a connection with that unifying field, dictates the quality of what you get back from it. Like the old cliché “You reap what you sow.” Nowhere is that connection more profound than through the act of sex as observed in the eastern traditions mentioned above. This energy or subtle body is what is being referenced when you hear “vital essence” in this film. Positive intentions of love, kindness, respect, responsibility, appreciation, creativity and humility, strengthen and increases and restores our vital essence, while negative intentions such as; anger, fear, control, mistrust, conceit and disrespect, deplete our vital essence. These higher and lower vibrations describe the difference between the ego and the higher self as well. Since everything is composed of this energy, the qualities and dynamics of everything in our lives depends on the quality of the vibrations that are brought to the energy field. …Our relationships are dictated by the intentions of those involved. ….The external conditions of all aspects of our individual lives are also predicated upon what intention we consciously and unconsciously bring to our connection to this unifying field of energy. This is a terrific movie for making such a delightful representation of this universal energy dynamic. And of course it’s nothing new, in fact it’s the oldest thing there is! It’s the software of the universe, the mechanics of creation as observed by scientists and sorcerers, sages and mystics, poets and philosophers alike!

Albert Einstein said “The most important question anyone can ask themselves is: Do I live in a hostile universe or do I live in a friendly universe? The life experience will reflect and confirm whatever answer is given to that question. …….hmm change your answer, …..change your experience!

Remember, you are what you watch! Mark Firehammer,