Japon (2003)

Japon (2003)



Critic Consensus: A slow-moving, visually impressive debut.

Japon Photos

Movie Info

A man on the brink of suicide regains the will to live under decidedly unusual circumstances in this drama from Mexico. A quietly despondent man (Alejandro Ferretis) leaves behind the city for a journey into a quiet village in the valley, telling anyone who cares to know that once he's settled in, he intends to kill himself. The man takes a room with Ascen (Magdalena Flores), and elderly woman who lost her husband some years ago. Keeping to himself, the man paints, thinks, and prepares himself for death, while Ascen slowly becomes aware of the depth of his depression. As Ascen's nephew attempts to rob her of her share of the family estate, the man feels a desire to live waking inside him again -- as well as the desire for a woman. Improbably, the man turns to Ascen for physical affection, and sensing his need for comfort, she complies, though the seduction lacks a great deal in the way of romance. The first feature film from writer and director Carlos Reygadas, Japon received an enthusiastic response when it was screened as part of the Directors' Fortnight series at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.
Art House & International , Documentary , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Mantarraya Producciones


Yolanda Villa
as Sabina
Martin Serrano
as Juan Luis
Bernabe Perez
as The Singer
Carlos Reygadas
as The Hunter
Ernesto Velázquez
as Hunter Unloading
Pablo Tamariz
as Puzzled Hunter
Alex Ezpeleta
as Hunter with Beer
Fran Castillo
as Walking Hunter
Diego Martínez Vignatti
as Sitting Hunter
Luis Amador Moreno
as The Butcher
Noe Barranco
as Fat Boy at Butcher's
Ángel Flores
as Boy with a Slingshot/Football Boy
Jesus Escamilla
as Boy's Father
Fernando Tellez
as Fernando, Man without the Use of His Hands
Jazmin Acosta
as Fernando's Daughter
as Peasant with Hoe
Silvia Duran
as Peasant Drinking Pulque
Patricia Perez
as Peasant Drinking Pulque
Claudia Rodríguez
as Woman in Dream
Juan Ocatvio Serrano
as Juan Luis' Son
Jose Luis Najera
as Juan Luis' Thin Son
Gregorio Hernandez
as Drunkard in Bar
Reynaldo Barrios
as Drunkard in Bar
Leobardo Hernandez
as Drunkard in Bar
Juan Lopez
as Drunkard in Bar
Felix Chavez
as Drunkard in Bar
Rolando Marin
as Drunkard in Bar
Ruben Duran
as Drunkard in Bar
Socrates Ferretis
as Football Boy
Eder Acosta
as Football Boy
Esteban Acosta
as Football Boy
Antonio Acosta
as Football Boy
Jose Luis Flores
as Football Boy
Aaron Denius Garcia
as Football Boy
Lucia Mendoza
as Woman with Flock
Victorino Hernandez
as Man Shaking Hands in Mass
Paula Hernández
as Woman Shaking Hands in Mass
Basilio Valderrama
as Peasant Knocking Down Barn
Norberto Flores
as Peasant Knocking Down Barn
Gonzalo Acosta
as Peasant Knocking Down Barn
Benito Montiel Guinifais
as Peasant Knocking Down Barn
Marcial Jarillo
as Peasant Knocking Down Barn
Gaspar Mohedano
as Peasant Knocking Down Barn
Emilio Casanas
as Peasant Knocking Down Barn
Raymundo Cortes
as Peasant Knocking Down Barn
Goyo Acosta
as Peasant Knocking Down Barn
Marcos Hernández
as Tractor Driver
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Japon

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (10)

If you're in synch with its heartbeat, and with Reygadas' tendency to pursue visual detours that intensify the film's sensual impact, this is a remarkable first effort that is equal parts disturbing, bold, mysterious and primal.

Full Review… | November 7, 2003
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Unfolding at an elliptical pace that feels like a revelation, or tedium, or both, Japon recalls the glory days of 1970s art-house filmmaking.

Full Review… | May 9, 2003
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Unlike a lot of young filmmakers, the 31-year-old Reygadas takes his ideas about the world and our place in it as seriously as his filmmaking ambitions.

Full Review… | April 24, 2003
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Reygadas grapples with the most elemental of issues ... and the result is sly, touching and more than a little loony.

Full Review… | April 24, 2003
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

It is the work of a remarkable new talent.

Full Review… | April 17, 2003
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Reygadas has an impressive eye for otherworldly landscapes and an impressive ear, too.

March 23, 2003
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Japon

Currently and for the past two years, this has been my choice for the worst movie that I've ever watched. There was just enough hope embedded in the "story" to keep me from ejecting the DVD and walking away shaking my head and cussing softly under my breath. I kept hoping that it would get better or develop into a real movie, but alas I was so wrong. Mother of Saddam Hussein, this was a horrible, horrible, horrible movie.. . and I watched every single second of it. The lead character was impossible to like; he even despised himself (his only saving grace during the whole film). The shaking camera, repeatedly taking endless, tedious looks at grass and pavement and walls was an artsy effect that gave me a headache, over and over again. It kind of reminded me of the times I forget to turn off the video camera and walk around with it hanging from my neck recording my feet. Unlike the film Japon, my clumsy mistakes were never acclaimed to be cinematic magic. I'm not some PETA wannabe, but there were some really graphic scenes featuring cruelty to animals that were just pointless and stupid. Come on, what is the point of choking a puppy, you ignorant shmendrik. If you wanted to choke something, you should've choked Mr. Reygadas, the man who directed this stinker. And the final scene with the defiled old woman with her stolen bricks being carried away by rail... that final, endless shot of the tracks leading up to the train wreck must have lasted 10 minutes, but it felt like a lifetime. By the time we finally arrived to the scene of the final carnage, I envied those lying dead among the spilled bricks. Pappy Bob's pedestrian opinion: Worst movie of all time. It was pretentious, boring, cruel, pointless, and pretentious (I know, but it was sooooooooooo pretentious). I've already put a condition in my last will and testament forbidding the distribution of my final assets to any descendent who fails to swear an anti-Japon oath upon my demise. August 2014 Update. This is still the worst movie that I've ever seen.

Bob Hartman
Bob Hartman

The PC police are at work here. I was led astray by AO Scott (NY Times) and Manohla Dargis (LA Times). These two reviewers usually are very accurate in their movie reviews. This time I think the emperor wore no clothes. This is one of those Art Films that has very little story and leaves more questions than it answers. I found very little to recommend. Our nameless hero travels to a remote Mexican village to shoot himself. We have no idea why. He stays a few days with an elderly widow. There are some vague references to Catholic Christianity. The widow has a name/nickname that references the figure of Christ. Our hero finds occasion to lay upon his bed in a Christ on the cross posture. The mountain scenery that was purported to be strikingly beautiful; was mostly dry and rocky. There were some distant valleys that appeared to be green farm fields. The story moves at a glacial pace. Events take place. And, we have a not surprising ending. This movie might appeal to Catholics, people with a fondness for Mexico, or those with an existential bent of mind. It was not for me. I do not recommend it.

ray h
ray h

A terribly boring last journey to death. Frankly, I lacked patience with this film.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Japon Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Japon on our Movie forum!

News & Features