Sonezaki Shinju (1981)

Genres - Drama  |   Run Time - 87 min.  |   Countries - Japan  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka

This classical Japanese drama is performed by marionettes that are about one-half life-size, with the masked puppeteers openly visible as they manipulate their marionettes and try to stay out of each other's way. At first detracting from the impact of the drama, the puppeteers seem less obtrusive after the story itself starts to take over. The tale involves a young merchant who wants to marry a courtesan, but the problems he has with his uncle are obstacles he cannot overcome, and the marriage will never be. Doomed to live apart in this life, the two lovers make a suicide pact, hoping that they will be reborn together if they die together - and with that intent in mind, the two marionettes move along a riverbank, manipulated by the black-robed puppet masters taking them to their inexorable fate.

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Keywords

marriage, merchant, prostitute/prostitution, star-crossed-lovers, suicide-pact