Beijing Watermelon (1990)

Run Time - 135 min.  |   Countries - Japan   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Jonathan Crow

Nobuhiko Obayashi spins this warm-hearted tale about Chinese exchange students and a rural vegetable vendor. The film centers on Haruzo Horikoshi (Bengal) and his wife, Michiko (Masako Motai), who manage an unassuming vegetable stand in Chiba Prefecture, not far from Tokyo. One day, a skinny Chinese student (Wu Yue) complains that there is nothing in the shop that he can afford to buy and demands a discount. Haruzo refuses, but the student digs his heels in. The conflict is resolved by Michiko who recommends they play rock-paper-scissors -- Haruzo loses. When the student shows up again, he collapses from malnutrition and Haruzo rushes him to the hospital. Haruzo, being a usual Japanese middle-aged guy who likes his horse racing as much as his sake, never really thought about the impoverished conditions that the local college students lived in. Soon he's not only selling them food at a deep discount, but he's showing them around Tokyo. Meanwhile, Michiko and their children worry about the family business. Just as the film is about to wind up, Bengal and Motai step out of character and explain that the final scene of the film was to be shot in Beijing, but because of the Tiananmen Square massacre those plans were scrapped.