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The Ceremony

Released Feb 7, 1974 2h 3m Drama List
Reviews 79% Audience Score 100+ Ratings
Members of the youngest generation of a Japanese family must submit to cruelly enforced traditions. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (2) Critics Reviews
Judith Crist New York Magazine/Vulture Strictly for cineastes who can justify all sorts of incoherencies and inanities in the name of cult. Oct 2, 2019 Full Review Fernando F. Croce CinePassion Nagisa Oshima's grand autopsy of the national clan Jun 30, 2014 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (7) audience reviews
william d The Ceremony deals with what should be two very interesting issues: dysfunctional families and the structure of post-war Japan. However, the film fails to kindle any interest in the characters or the story. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member SCARY!!! I hate the Devil!! Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 01/27/23 Full Review Audience Member Durante i preparativi del funerale del nonno Kazoumi, odiato patriarca della potente famiglia Sakurada, Terumichi, da tempo ritiratosi in un'isola remota, annuncia a sua moglie Ritsuko ed al cugino Masuo via telegramma il suo imminente suicidio; i due decidono di intraprendere insieme il lungo viaggio che li condurrà sull'isola. Durante il tragitto, Masuo ripercorre le tappe salienti della storia della sua famiglia, attraverso la rievocazione di quattro importanti cerimonie che hanno sancito la decadenza dei Sakurada. Nel 1946, dopo essere stato deportato in Manciuria, dove suo fratello maggiore aveva trovato la morte, Masuo insieme a sua madre fa ritorno a casa, in tempo per celebrare il primo anniversario della morte di suo padre, suicidatosi dopo la rinuncia all'immortalità dell'imperatore. Nel 1952 Masuo, in seguito alla morte di sua madre, decide di rinunciare al baseball, di cui è un promettente giocatore e si invaghisce della zia Setsuko. Nel 1956 vengono celebrate le nozze dello zio Isamu e, nel corso della nottata, Masuo si dichiara alla zia Setsuko, ma viene respinto. La mattina seguente, la donna viene trovata morta, infilzata da una spada, in quello che appare essere un suicidio. Nel 1961 viene celebrato, secondo la ferrea ed inattaccabile volontà del nonno, attaccato ancora alle antiche tradizioni, il surreale matrimonio di Masuo senza la presenza della fuggitiva sposa. Durante la cerimonia, il cugino Tadashi viene investito da un'auto; Masuo, sconvolto, si scaglia contro il nonno e dichiara il suo amore alla cugina Ritsuko, già impegnata però con Terumichi. Giunti sull'isola, Masuo e Ritsuko, entrando nella capanna di Terumichi, scoprono che si è già suicidato ed ha lasciato una lettera con scritto: Uccidendomi, ho distrutto la famiglia Sakurada. Ritsuko decide di suicidarsi anche lei, non potendo vivere senza il marito, Masuo, addolorato per la sua decisione, si allontana dalla casa e, lungo la spiaggia, rivive un flashback di loro tre bambini in cui giocavano a baseball. [] Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/18/23 Full Review eric b Remember "Four Weddings and a Funeral"? Well, this one is closer to "Four Funerals and a Wedding." But there are no laughs in this Nagisa Oshima-directed saga -- it's an unusually bleak, ponderous tale that will wear out many viewers before its 122 minutes grind to a close. Both literally and metaphorically, "The Ceremony" chronicles the death of a family. The characters span three generations. The Sakuradas are a wealthy, powerful clan led by patriarch Kazuomi (Kei Sato, a veteran of several Oshima films). He's a demanding, cold-hearted monster who treats men like soldiers and women like prostitutes. However, the main story revolves around four of his descendants. Cousins Masuo and Terumichi both covet their pretty cousin Ritsuko. Except they also indulge desire for her teasing, passive-aggressive mother Setsuko. Every permutation of these players seems doomed. Infidelities and incest so dominate the family's history that, by the end of the movie, properly labeling the blood relationships between various Sakuradas is a chore. Meanwhile, the generational struggles mirror the broader, post-WWII clash between new and old Japan. Political material is mostly channeled through Kazuomi, a Communist-leaning uncle and another cousin named Tadashi (whose father had been a war criminal imprisoned in China). As the years pass, relationships fracture while multiple characters spiral down to an exhausted, unpleasant demise. Comparisons to the debased clans of "The Godfather" and "One Hundred Years of Solitude" are appropriate, especially since both novels were freshly popular at the turn of the '70s. The Sakuradas' story is told via a series of flashbacks, as Masuo and Ritsuko journey in the present day to discover the fate of Terumichi. The past segments (backtracking as far as 1947) revisit formal family gatherings where stiff, traditional rituals reflect the participants' inner emptiness. The extreme case is a climactic wedding where Masuo is forced to slog through a ridiculous, pantomime service because the bride is absent. Oshima's stolid direction strips away most of his late-'60s experimentation, beyond the script's episodic structure and one quick use of superimposed text. In fact, he consciously avoids avant-garde trickery -- many of his shots are notably prolonged and static. And one defiant touch is a minus: The score's sparse, dissonant violins are practically the stereotype of artsy-fartsy, foreign-film tedium. And while we're discussing music, let's not overlook that the movie also includes a scene showing Oshima's dire fetish for stilted drinking songs that, rest assured, do not transcend cultural boundaries. "The Ceremony" is not easy to enjoy. I myself restarted it after watching the first half, feeling like I had lost the plot. The "action" rarely goes beyond intense, claustrophobic conversations. The character names are difficult to keep straight and, if you're about to watch the film, I suggest re-reading the above introductions again. But if properly prepared, the patient viewer will be rewarded. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member The family dynamic, though complicated and confusing (incest galore!), should be interesting, but it just didn't push my buttons at all. However, things get cooking in the final half hour, starting with the bride-less wedding. I still don't quite know the movie was getting at. Overall, I liked it; the avant-garde score and interesting visual tableaus helped get through the early parts. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/17/23 Full Review Audience Member Loppukesalla 09 Arkiston (KAVA) Oshima-plajayksen parhain leffa tahan mennessa - mutta viela muutama nakematta Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/17/23 Full Review Read all reviews
The Ceremony

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Movie Info

Synopsis Members of the youngest generation of a Japanese family must submit to cruelly enforced traditions.
Nagisa Ôshima
Nagisa Ôshima, Mamoru Sasaki, Tsutomu Tamura
Original Language
Release Date (Theaters)
Feb 7, 1974, Original
2h 3m