Skip to main content


Japan, 2002 (MIFF 2003, Brain Monkey Sushi)

Director: Hidenori Sugimori

An accomplished debut feature that boasts the kind of impossibly gorgeous imagery that punctuates the films of Tran Anh Hung (Cydo, Vertical Roy of the Sun). Woman of Water is a meditative, Zen-like film exploring the world of Ryo, the rain woman, who seems to have the power to bring about a torrential downpour when emotion moves her.

Stories, moving back and forward in time, depict Ryo's melancholy but wondrous world. She loses both her father and fiance on one tragic day, closes the family bath house and flees to Mt. Fuji for solace. Upon her return she hires Yusaku, a fugitive and reformed arsonist, to stoke the fires that heat the baths. Unfortunately for both, the balance of the worlds of fire and water cannot be maintained.

Still in development, the film collected the Best Script prize at Sundance in 2001 then went on to prestigious screenings at Toronto in 2002, Berlin and Sundance in 2003. It strikes a profound and unusual balance between the traditional and very modern, employing the substantial talents of Japanese singer and poet UA, as Ryo, and Japan's hottest actor Tadanobu Asano (Electric Dragon 80,000V, Gojoe, MIFF 2001), as firebug Yusaku. Hypnotic and mythical.

See also...


Japan in the 90s: the decade of the bubble that burst. A young couple, Daisuke and Akajiru, fail to launch their 'health drink' in the city, and so they retreat to the provincial town where Daisuke ... More »


A compilation of outrageous, inventive short films from seven of Japan's hottest filmmakers. Wildly diverse in subject, genre, systems of photography and filmmaking technique, Jam Films explodes onto ... More »


At the core of this program of Japanese shorts are the highlights, of Samurai Shorts the latest HD-cam wonders produced by Wataru Furuta (Burst the Earth, MIFF 2001) which are having their ... More »


Life for Ryo is hectic. Aside from his university studies, his indulgences in drugs, girls and clubs keep him on his toes. On his birthday, he decides to throw a party with some close friends, that ... More »


During the Heian Period of Japan's history, dark spirits still dwelled in the forests, mountains and rivers. Disguised as a male warrior a young woman named Kaidohmaru, 'The Knight of Fire', wages ... More »


Yokai / n. pl. Bizarre-looking monsters and supernatural beings from Japanese folklore who like to play tricks on unsuspecting humans. Eight-year-old Tadashi, a meek schoolboy from a broken family ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director