|Directed by||Carlos Reygadas|
|Produced by||Carlos Reygadas
|Written by||Carlos Reygadas|
|2 October 2002 (Belgium)|
The film follows a man going through an acute existential crisis. He leaves Mexico City to go out to the country and prepare for his death, staying with an old Indian widow in her ramshackle home overlooking a desolate canyon. In the vastness of a wild and impressive nature, he confronts the infinite humanity of the widow and oscillates between cruelty and lyricism. His senses become dull, arousing his desires and instincts for sexuality and life.
Japón has received high accolades from most critics who have seen it, but the film has had relatively limited exposure. It was placed at #100 on The Moving Arts Film Journal's list of the 100 greatest films of all time. The film also won the special mention of the Camera d'Or prize in the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports 80% approval based on 25 reviews from critics, with a "Certified Fresh" rating.
Japón contains a number of scenes of real animal cruelty and the British Board of Film Classification demanded cuts for its UK release in accordance with the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937. The removed scenes are described as an unsuccessful attempt to strangle a bird that then stumbles around injured on the ground and a dog being forced to sing along with a song through the application of a painful stimulus. The film also includes an unsimulated scene of a bird being shot down and then killed by having its head torn off and the (off-camera) slaughter of a pig. Reygadas defended these scenes, as well as the explicit sexual encounters in Batalla en el Cielo, saying, "If you think about it, what’s so outrageous about a naked obese woman? There are plenty of astonishing images in other films with flying cars and such… What you see in my films, you can see it any ordinary day: a gas station, a hunter killing an animal, people making love. I’m not trying to impress anyone with those images; they make sense in the context of my films."
- 2002 International Film Festival Bratislava, Grand Prix for Carlos Reygadas
- 2002 International Film Festival Bratislava, Prize of the Ecumenical Jury for Carlos Reygadas
- 2002 Cannes Film Festival, Golden Camera - Special Mention for Carlos Reygadas
- 2002 Edinburgh International Film Festival, New Director's Award for Carlos Reygadas
- 2002 Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival, Best Latin American Film for Carlos Reygadas
- 2002 São Paulo International Film Festival, Critics Award - Honorable Mention for Carlos Reygadas
- 2002 Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Best Director for Carlos Reygadas
- 2002 Stockholm International Film Festival, Audience Award for Carlos Reygadas
- 2002 Havana Film Festival, Best First Work for Carlos Reygadas
- 2003 Tromsø International Film Festival, Aurora Award - Special Mention for Carlos Reygadas
- 2003 Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, Best Actor for Alejandro Ferretis
- 2003 Guadalajara International Film Festival, Best Screenplay for Carlos Reygadas
- 2003 Guadalajara International Film Festival, Best Art Direction for Alejandro Reygadas
- The Moving Arts Film Journal 100 Greatest Films
- "Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937". Legislation.gov.uk. Crown copyright. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- Japon - Alejandro Ferretis, Magdalena Flores, Yolanda Villa
- Austin360 Movies: Japon Reviews - Los Angeles Times
- Castillo, José 'Carlos Reygadas', BOMB Magazine, Spring 2010, retrieved December 20, 2012