The Eel (film)

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The Eel 1997.jpg
Directed by Shohei Imamura
Produced by Hiso Ino
Written by Shohei Imamura, Daisuke Tengan, Motofumi Tomikawa, Akira Yoshimura
Starring Kōji Yakusho, Misa Shimizu
Music by Shinichirô Ikebe
Cinematography Shigeru Komatsubara
Edited by Hajime Okayasu
Distributed by Shochiku (Japan)
Mongrel Media (North America)
New Yorker Films (Eng-Subs)
Release dates
12 May 1997 (premiere at Cannes)
24 May 1997 (Japan)
21 August 1998 (U.S.)
20 November 1998 (UK)
Running time
117 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Box office $5,151,326[1]

The Eel (うなぎ Unagi?) is a 1997 film directed by Shohei Imamura and starring Kōji Yakusho, Misa Shimizu, Mitsuko Baisho, and Akira Emoto. The film is loosely based on the novel On Parole by celebrated author Akira Yoshimura, combined with elements from the director's 1966 film The Pornographers. It shared the Palme d'Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival with Taste of Cherry.[2]


Acting on the advice of an anonymous note, Takuro Yamashita (Kōji Yakusho) returns home early one night to find his wife in bed with another man. He kills her and then turns himself in to the police. After being released from prison, he opens a barber shop. He helps save Keiko Hattori (Misa Shimizu) from a suicide attempt, after which she works at his shop. It becomes clear that Keiko has romantic affections for Takuro, but his reciprocation is directed towards his pet eel.



  1. ^ "The Eel". JPBoxoffice. Retrieved March 04, 2012.
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Eel". Retrieved 2009-09-24. 

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