Unagi (1997) [Director’s Cut] AKA The Eel


White-collar worker Yamashita finds out that his wife has a lover visiting her when he’s away, suddenly returns home and kills her. After eight years in prison, he returns to live in a small village, opens a barber shop (he was trained as a barber in prison) and talks almost to no-one except for the eel he “befriended” in prison. One day he finds the unconscious body of Keiko, who attempted suicide and reminds him of his wife. She starts to work at his shop, but he doesn’t let her become close to him.

Director: Shôhei Imamura. AKA The Eel / うなぎ
Writers: Shôhei Imamura, Daisuke Tengan, Motofumi Tomikawa, Akira Yoshimura (novel).
Stars: Kôji Yakusho, Misa Shimizu, Mitsuko Baishô, Akira Emoto, Fujio Tokita, Shô Aikawa, Ken Kobayashi, Sabu Kawahara, Etsuko Ichihara, Tomorô Taguchi, Chino Terada, Sanshô Shinsui, Kôichi Ueda, Ken Mitsuishi, Hiroyuki Konishi, Shôichi Ozawa, Shinshô Nakamaru, Sei Hiraizumi, Seiji Kurasaki, Toshirô Ishidô.
Cinematographer: Shigeru Komatsubara.
Composer: Shinichirô Ikebe.

1997 Cannes Film Festival – Winner of the Palme d’Or.


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  1. Torin Doyle
    October 6, 2023

    A good film. I voted it 7/10 on IMDb.

  2. October 6, 2023

    I can’t see much information about a director’s cut of this film (which I haven’t yet seen). Does anyone know more?

  3. Vidor
    October 7, 2023

    Palme d’Or winner!

    • Jon W.
      October 7, 2023

      Oops, forgot to add that, thanks for the reminder!

  4. Nathan
    January 1, 2024

    Is there a valid link to this movie?

  5. khair
    January 19, 2024

    please where can i find the film ??

  6. Michael K
    January 31, 2024

    thanks for putting this up. Saw the theatrical release on DVD here in Australia about ten years ago. While any Imamura is never enough, the shorter film was much better and quite different. The prelereinary scenes was dropped so the film began when the main character was being released from prison. Many of the other scenes edited out also. Was a stronger film but grateful to be able to see this version

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