Muddy River (1981): Beautiful Coming of Age Tale from Japan

Set in Osaka in the 1950s, Kohei Oguri’s “Muddy River,” which was nominated for the 1981 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, is an absorbing tale of friendship between two vastly different boys.

The protagonist, Asahara, who’s 9, live with his parents, who own a small restaurant. He befriends Sakurai, who lives with his mother in a houseboat. Asahara is perplexed as to why Sakurai is unwilling to talk about his mother and refusal to invite him to his home; it turns out his mom is a prostitute.

The film, a classic coming-of-age saga, is gorgeously photographed by Shohei Ando

Oscar Context:

The winner of the Best Foreign Language Oscar was “Mephisto” from Hungary.

Running time: 105 minutes.