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THE BLESSING BELL

Japan, 2002 (MIFF 2003, Regional Focus)

Director: Sabu

An wry, laconic observational comedy from the youthful master of deadpan, Sabu. Igarashi (Kitano 'Beat' Takeshi regular Sumumu Terajima) cannot believe his bad luck. On his first day as a factory worker the business folds and everyone is laid off. Despondent, he ponders his fate by the banks of a river, only metres away from a muttering, penitent, elderly yakuza. After finishing his ramblmgs, the old man slumps forward and rolls towards the river, collapsing at the bottom to reveal a knife protruding from his ribs. At that exact moment a policeman is riding by on his bicycle and promptly ushers Igarashi off to jail. Held for only a few hours, he manages to meet a murderer whose prison-bound confession offers a new opportunity for our down-on-his-luck hero. Upon release, Igarashi's adventures really begin.

Set over 24 hours, The Blessing Bell is full of sardonic observations and the coincidences thrown in the path of one unlucky man. Renowned director Sabu has crafted a film with a host of visual gags that resembles the best of Jacques Tati and fellow countryman Kitano 'Beat' Takeshi.

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