Plot summary

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Ko Shibasaki Photo
Ko Shibasaki as Sakurai Tsubaki
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1.1 GB
Japanese 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 2 min
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2.27 GB
Japanese 5.1
23.976 fps
2 hr 2 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by zeilmann.a9 / 10

Fast and furious teen-drama

Go was a surprise at Berlin FilmFest. A wild - at times bloody - story about a guy from the North Korean community in Japan, who tries to find out what his roots are and where he belongs to. Sugihara speaks Japanese, he looks like an ordinary Japanese punk and has Japanese friends - but he is different. He feels alienated from his parents and his background, he hates the rigid rules at the North Korean college he is attenting (chanting, marching and being beaten up by a strictly communist teacher included),but he's got no clue how to meddle into Japanese society. So he does best provocating others much to the anger of his father a former boxer, who has very special methods of education. What most people don't know, there are strong reservations in Japan against the Koreans in the country, so in the course of the events Sugihara hits some walls, especially when he fells in love with a Japanese girl, and doesn't dare to tell her the truth. A strong example for "New Japanese Cinema". Watch out for this director!

Reviewed by kwongers7 / 10

sweet movie with a good message

I liked this movie, although I didn't love it. The film centers on the prejudice experienced by a Korean teenager living in Japan; he doesn't fit in with Koreans or the Japanese. But he utters many times in the film, "This is my love story," and while he does have a love interest, it is a rather small part. I liked how this film looked at the different tensions of race, life, and love.

The acting was pretty great. The lead actor was very convincing as the teenager who is conflicted between two identities. He overacted the last scene, but there is this one very beautiful scene where he just sits and talks to a police officer. It's pretty awesome: very simple and beautiful. Kou Shibasaki as his love interest is pretty good as well, and she won the Japanese equivalent of the Oscar for her role in this. She makes the most of the relatively short amount of screen time she has, and we can see why the main character would fall in love with her.

Not the best Japanese movie I've ever seen, but still pretty good. Worth your while. 7/10

Reviewed by Meganeguard8 / 10

The Smell of Kimchi

Director: Yukisada Isao Duration: 122 Minutes

Almost two years ago in my War and Memory in Japanese Film Class I watched a film called Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence by the controversial film director Oshima Nagisa. One memorable scene in this film, amongst many others, is the cruelty displayed played by Sgt. Hara, Beat Takeshi, towards an imprisoned soldier named "Kanemoto." However, this is not the soldier's real name. He, like thousands of other Korean men, was forced to adopt Japanese names, because of the difficulty for the Japanese to pronounce Korean names, and serve in the Japanese military. Of course, this character comes to a pretty brutal end. Having to write a paper comparing one of the films in the class with another, I decided to compare how the Other is represented in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence and Yukisada Isao's Go and let me say that it was indeed an eye-opening experience.

Sugihara seems like a normal enough Japanese high school kid. He goes to class, plays basketball, reads books that his friends lend, etc. However, there is something different about Sugihara: he is not Japanese, but Korean, and not South Korean, but North Korean. Attending North Korean school until the time he enters high school. Sugihara spent his school days marching, learning the ideologies of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, and participating in classes devoted to self-criticism, which basically consisted of the teacher Mr. Kim beating students who broke the rule of speaking Japanese in school, but after he gets caught by the police after he and his friend Tawake and Wonsu attempt the Super Great Chicken Run, Sugihara ran in front of a train without getting killed, his father changes the family's nationality to South Korean, and soon after Sugihara decides to attend a Japanese high school. However, things do not go easy for our hero.

Being a Korean, although born and raised in Japan, Sugihara is bullied at his new school. However, unlike many who are bullied, Sugihara knows how to fight from studying boxing with his father and after a particular fight where he takes on the school's entire basketball team; he becomes the target of students who want to prove themselves as fighters. He defeats all of them quite easily.

The ideas of race and nation never crossed Sugihara's mind until one night at a birthday party for his friend a girl named Sakurai shows considerable interest in him. As their relationship grows, the burden of revealing his Korean heritage begins to weigh heavily on Sugihara. However, he is afraid that revealing his background will destroy the precious relationship he has developed with Sakurai.

When Iwai Shunji released Swallowtail Butterfly in 1996 considerable interest within Japan's film industry was placed on minorities in Japan and films such as Yamamoto Masashi's Junk Food were created. However, almost four decades before similar issues were taken up by Oshima Nagisa in Death by Hanging and Imamura Shohei' My Second Younger Brother and more recent films tackling the issue include Sai Yoichi's, of Korean stock himself, Blood and Bones. However, where most of these films are quite serious, Go is a quite enjoyable film filled with humor while not becoming too didactic as a social commentary. The first half of the film is truly a delight with Sugihara's unusual relationships with his parents and the growth of his affection for Sakurai. The second half of the film tries to be a bit heavier and it sometimes comes off as being a bit forced. However, Go is a valuable film in introducing viewers to one group of Japan's little known minorities.

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