Lost Paradise

1997 [JAPANESE]

Drama / Romance

0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 64%
IMDb Rating 6.6 10 632

extramarital affair

Plot summary


Uploaded by: FREEMAN
September 06, 2022 at 11:53 AM

Top cast

720p.BLU
1.07 GB
1280*690
Japanese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 59 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by shu-fen 7 / 10

Middle-class's midlife tragedy

The story is adapted from the extremely successful work of the same title by the renowned Japanese writer Junichi Watanabe published in February 1997, sold 2.6 million copies. What's more, "Paradise Lost" (in Japanese) has become a popular buzzword ever after in the Japanese society.

The detailed analysis of the love life (or need) of the middle-aged is one of the reasons for the success, another one should be the extensive description of Shoichiro Kuki and Rinko Matsubaro's extremely explicit sexual intercourse. Sex sells well. Seeing the success of the book and the movie, the TV station has adapted the story into a series. Again, it's another success, in terms of monetary return.

When most of life's duties have been fulfilled: career has become stable, children have grown up and are independent, the mortgage is nearing its finishing line, the car has been changed to be better and more powerful and, the marriage has also gone "stable", what should one need more? The 50-year-old Kuki, a publishing veteran editor is now trapped in such a maze. Rinko is also stuck in this dilemma. She married a prestigious medical doctor because of his money. Sexually, she is not satisfied because her husband loves SM.

Japan is a conservative and suppressing society. Individual ideas may not be able to survive for long. Just a few days ago, commoner-turned-Princess Owada Masako finally could not keep silent to express that the pressure of the palace suffocates her. And the society stifles many Japanese men: they fight, compete and study hard to enter reputed kindergarten, primary school, high school and university, then a good job and keep climbing the ladder of the company. Arranged marriage is always common. Every thing must be done according to their parents' planning. Kuki expressed his pain once that he is always a good boy, a good student, a good boss, a good daddy and a good hubby, now he wants something for himself. When two down and lonely hearts "collide" together, lethal sparks of emotion explode frantically.

George Lam's "John Lam" in Sylvia Chang's film "Zui Ai" tells more or less the same pain of suppression that Kuki, as a man living in a conservative Asian society, experiences ever since childhood. They cannot but struggle for a channel at any cost.

Reviewed by hillspring 10 / 10

beautiful and sad, striking my heart

Although I have heard about this movie and read the original book, I never get a chance to watch the complete one till this afternoon I rent the DVD.

It is really beautiful, every moment, every performance, every scene, natural and artistic, yet so moving and striking to me that I really can not breathe in the end. There is something deep in your soul, which you may never experience in your life. But when it comes to you and you realize that, you jump at it, no matter what consumes, your job, family, even your life.

The most amazing part of this movie is that, when I watch it, I know it is a very strong and passionate one (I have read the original book and I adore it), but every step it takes happens so natural and real that you feel it is just the fate and inevitable. It is not just a romantic story about forbidden love, there is something deeper and more serious inside, where is the real life and love in this modern, developed society? I have long felt there is a aesthetic yet self-destructive tendency in many Japanese novels and movies, just like and blossom of cherry flowers. This one provide another sample.

As usual Koji Yakusho, my favorite current male Japanese actor delivers a very convincing performance. This is my first time to see Hitomi Kuroki. She plays exactly the character in the book, sometimes even better and far beyond it. I do not know how to describe her beauty and acting, it is too perfect, I really love her in this movie. If I were Sholchiro Kuki, I would do everything to make her a happy and complete life.

I guess this movie is not the cup of tea for everyone. First of all, the story itself may be controversial in some sense, going against the conventional moral values. Second, there are quiet a lot sizzling sex scenes. I have to admit, some of them are very arousing and erotic, but they are naturally beautiful with no pretense. To this point,the only comparable movies I can remember are: Damage, The lover, and Unfaithful.

By the way I also would like to recommend the original book with the same title by the renowned Japanese writer Junichi Watanabe. In my eyes, he is the counterpart of D.H.Lawrence in Asia in that both can write sex in such a real and beautiful way.

Reviewed by jmaruyama 7 / 10

A haunting and tragic look at infidelity and the power of love...

Morita Yoshimitsu's "Shitsurakuen" (Paradise Lost) is a somber and haunting love story whose tragic tale of two "Star-crossed lovers" will certainly strike an emotional chord with audiences. Based on the popular 1997 bestselling novel by Watanabe Junichi, the story focuses on a doomed romance between a middle-aged family man, Kuki Shoichiro (the wonderful Yakusho Koji) and a beautiful calligraphy instructor, Matsubara Rinko (the alluring Kuroki Hitomi).

Their chance encounter begins innocently enough but soon escalates into a torrid and all-consuming secret love affair. As their perfect romance intensifies, it soon takes its toll on both their personal and professional lives with disastrous results. With their individual worlds shattering around them can they still find a way to stay together?

Given the salacious subject matter of the original novel it is to director Morita's credit that he resists the urge and temptation to turn the film into a exploitative sex film but rather crafted an effectively brilliant yet bittersweet love story about two lonely individuals who have finally experienced true love at mid-life. While many have remarked at the film's erotic content, I don't think the film is particularly graphic or overly explicit. The purposely suggestive nature of the film's love scenes are in fact even more effective in conveying the intense nature of the romance.

Screenwriter Morinaga Kyoko does a nice job of steam-lining Watanabe's original novel and focuses on the key elements which made the novel so poignant to readers. Morita's masterful direction is enhanced by Cinematographer Takase Hiroshi's wonderful camera work which uses various interesting fades as scene transition effects that add to the dreamy nature of the whole film.

The film's emotional strength however relies heavily on the excellent performances of its leads Yakusho and Kuroki. Yakusho plays a somewhat similar character here as he did in the masterful "Shall We Dance", an "every man" who is in mid-life crisis and desperately trying to recapture the passion of his youth. Yakusho successfully paints Shoichiro as not just a man obsessed and blinded by lust but rather as a man who has found solace and fulfillment through Rinko as his soul-mate and emotional anchor. Kuroki, who would later go on to portray the controversial character of Sada Abe (another woman involved in a scandalous adulterous affair) in Obayashi Nobuhiko's film "Sada" (1998) delivers a brave performance as the refined and reserved Rinko, a woman whose arranged marriage early in life was more a matter of convenience than love and who longs to escape from the passionless and suffocating life she leads. Kuroki's Rinko character could have been portrayed as just an adulterous vixen but through Kuroki's subtle performance paints her more sympathetically as just a lonely character who experiences with Shoichiro a sexual freedom that is both liberating and intoxicating.

Morita's "Paradise Lost" seeks not to condemned nor excuse adulterous affairs but simply tries to explain some of the reasons they might occur. While it may be an extreme and morbid example of an affair gone wrong, the love story at the core of the story is truly touching and the haunting ending will definitely leave its mark on audiences.

As a side note, "Shitsurakuen" was also adapted into a thirteen episode Japanese Drama series the same year (1997) and starred gruff character actor Furuya Ikko as Shoichiro and former 80s singing star Kawashima Naomi as Rinko. While the overall story was similar, the drama delved even deeper into the troubled pasts of the two characters. It was also surprisingly even more explicit in its depiction of the love scenes between the two characters and pushed the limits of Japanese TV censorship laws. Kawashima went against-type to portray Rinko and certainly must have shocked audiences with her raw and very sexual performance especially to those who like myself fondly remembered her as the sweet celebrity co-host of "Owarai Manga Dojo", a game show that catered to younger audiences. Sadly, although "Shitsurakuen" the series was a moderate hit and was well watched (more out of audience curiosity than quality) it has not been released to DVD or Blu-ray yet (only VHS copies exist). Hopefully this series will be released to DVD/Blu-Ray soon as it will serve as an interesting companion and counterpoint to Morita's much more superior version.

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