In 1995, this long running series came to an end with the abrupt death of its star Kiyoshi Atsumi. His death meant the death of Tora San and the 48th film of the series, “Tora San, to the rescue” was the unexpected final of a series that was left without a proper farewell.
2019 marked the 50th anniversary of the release of the first movie and Yoji Yamada, the creator of this wonderful series, didn’t want to miss the chance of returning to Shibamata to celebrate this 50 years journey delivering a new film that could be a perfect farewell to the fans of the franchise.
“Wish You Were Here” follows the story twenty-four years after the last film, centering the plot around Tora´s nephew Mitsuo (Hidetaka Yoshioka), who´s now a middle aged succesful novelist, single father of a teenage girl, who has lost his wife six years ago. interspersing original restored footage from many previous films of the series, Yamada writes a new chapter of the story that reflects about the scars that are left in the heart with the passage of time and those second chances that sometimes get in our way to heal them. Itsumi (Kumiko Goto) Mitsuo´s high school sweetheart who starred with him some of the latest films of the series, returns to Mitsuo´s life putting his world upside down, both being granted with the opportunity to relive the romance they left behind twenty-four years ago.
Most of the original cast returns reprising their roles, (the ones who has deceased have their respective homages) and Shibamata once again, is that indispensable silent character becoming the canvas where the story is drawn. Yamada could have delivered an easy product only relying in the strong weigh of nostalgia, but fortunately he has choosen not to to follow that easy path, and although that is a really nostalgic movie, he uses nostalgia as a tool to setting the tone of the story, to create a new heartwarming chapter, with the intention of reuniting for one last time, a fandom that feels like a big old family, but being smart enough to write an original story that could attract new fans to the series.
Besides paying homage to the late Kiyoshi Atsumi, and the legacy that Yoji Yamada has left behind, the film is a moving display of feeling put on the screen, that sets ot how ephemeral time can be, and the joy of regaining that one true love that life took it away turning it into a memory that never fades.
The long running series “Otoko wa Tsurai yo“, is a journey that resembles life itself, where there´s joy, comedy, tears, love and disappointment, where the inevitable passage of time turns everything into nostalgia, but as life itself, deserves to be celebrated.
Don´t miss the chance and enjoy it in Japan Cuts 2020 online festival.
Yo won´t regret it!!!