Railroad Man (1999) - full transcript

A solitary middle-aged station manager is haunted by troubling memories of his past when he learns the line his station is on will be decommissioned for lack of profitability. He is visited by a young woman, who mysteriously appears to cheer him up.

Signal, okay!

"Otomatsu Sato to be

stationmaster at Horomai"


How was the trip?

Heavy snow

No passengers

Even a dummy

would be a good companion

A dummy? Me?

A gift from us all. Please accept it

For me?

For you late daughter

It's her memorial day

She's still in your memory. She's happy

Thank you

"In memory of Yukiko Sato

Died January 5, 1 978"

the Railroader

Track open for the next train

Thanks. It warmed me

You're welcome



They are for you to drink on trip

Drink this and keep your eyes open

Good coffee

Thank you

Outbound closed

Inbound open

Signal, okay


Rear, okay

Signal, okay

I've got a grandson!

I'm a grandpa now. Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I'm a grandpa now

Will you see Oto today, Pop?

About his new job...

I'm trying to find one, but...

I know

If only our subsidiary company wants him

The trouble is...

Despite our worries,

he isn't eager to get a new job

He thinks he'll

never quit the railroad

But there's the age limit

They gave me a new job,

but not him. I'm sorry for him


Was the location good?


No other restaurants around

Business will be good

We'll renovate it

You bought it?

It's our chance. Yours is there

Why don't you take care
of my old restaurant?


Who'd take care of my station?

But you...

I'm busy

It's old and shabby, but...

I just can't leave it without tears


Is it all right?

I told you

We can't stay here doing nothing

This town is dying, but we aren't

Rear, okay

Signal, okay

The train just left

Watch out! It's slippery

You like trains?

There'll be no other...

train before sunset

Are you home for the holiday season?

I'm going to school

First grade, huh?

Be careful!

I hope it won't snow

No need for a snowplow tonight


I'll be going

To see Oto?

Mister Sato

He's a stationmaster

He used to be a great engineer
Respect him

What are you shooting?

What are you shooting?

The last chance...

to see that engine

Take mine

A souvenir

They don't have to take pictures

Because it's valuable

Some people came along way to see it

Then, why abandon this line?

Because it doesn't pay anymore

Shall we go slowly after the express?

There may be deer on the track

Be careful

I'll return tomorrow

I understand


But this line has been...

Iosing money for years

No passengers
during the high school vacation

They could've...

abandoned it long ago

It did make a profit once

It had its heyday

Don't you remember?

It hauled coal...

Coal from the Horomai mines

The town was booming then

Is the company waiting...

for Oto's retirement?

No. They don't care about it

No way

My age limit is next autumn

You'll be a director at the Tomamu Hotel

It's no secret at Biyoro

Not decided yet

A hotel tycoon hires me

I can't work...

dressed in a dark suit,
bowing to customers...

You and Oto are...

typical railroaders


What's that?

Oto's-l men-Stationmaster Sato's war cry

Six minutes late

Oto's on the platform

Blow the horn

He's been standing in the cold

It's below zero

He's a railroad hero

That's a railroader

He wouldn't work in a dark suit...

at a resort hotel. He's proud



Welcome back

Hi, Sen!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

You came here for greetings?

You could've phoned

You've got no place to go

You pity me?


Six minutes late

No rest

Any passengers?


Here you are

Shall we go?


Thanks for the treat

You've gained a little weight

Blame the holiday food

New year's food from my wife

Thanks. Is she fine?

As usual

I'll send off the train

Shizue! Can you see?

My man?

Not yet. Try to live

He's on duty at the station

He'll take the last train

He's a man like that


He's true to his job
He loves the railroad

He's a real...


How can you be so mean to your wife?

Why didn't you come before she died?

Shut up

Even if you were on duty,
you could have come

Poor Shizue!



Why don't you cry?

Cry for her

I'm a railroader

Her death is a private matter

"Wave the flag when you want to fight"

"Sound a whistle when you want to cry"

"Cry your lungs out
when you want to yell..."

The railroader

Tough work

No. I'm finished

I'll take a bath


But you'll have to work longer

Very tough

Not at all

Be careful


I go right now

What's that?

A lost article

It's very old


No kids would play with it nowadays


Just a cup

No. I'm still on duty

then, eat some New Year's food


Even your letters are rigid


"Lost articles: A doll"

At last you're off duty
It's New Year's Day

How many years since your wife died?

How many years? Only two

Come here

Thanks for the food

Just a little

Happy New Year!

Since my wife died...

I haven't made a New Year's feast

Didn't the restaurant owner
bring the food?

Toshi's new ltalian restaurant
in Biyoro will open this year

They're busy


They have few customers here

Only one in three days

You'll be lonely


This town is more like
an old people's home

I won't be lonely



I'll start working at the Tomamu resort
in spring next year


Across two mountains
On the Sekisho Line

They're building four big hotels

Ski in winter, golf in summer...

They expect lots of tourists

Why don't your work there with me?

You'll retire from rail service

I can squeeze you in the staff


You don't have to squeeze me in

No thanks

Why not?

I'm not used to even riding an escalator

But you're an engineer


All I know is railroading, nothing else

I learned from experience

I'm not fit for another job



Hideo, your son...

I hear he tried to help me

He couldn't

He's a college graduate...

so he'll get promotions, but...

he's not in a position to help you yet

Is that so?

I thought if he could come with me
to see you, but...

he'll be on duty tomorrow

And his wife had a baby

He's busy

Your grandchild? You love it?

Of course I do


Will your son make a railroader
out of your grandson, too?

Then he will be the third generation

I wonder

I wish I had a son

Is it born?

My wife?

You're sweating. Wipe your sweat

You're sweating, too

Don't be shy

No, thanks

It's born?

I'm glad


I'm happy


For your promotion and childbirth

I'm really happy

But Shizue isn't young

Childbirth is hard work

A boy, or a girl?

A girl

Are you okay?

You see her?

She can't succeed you


Her name. Means "snow child"

Will she be as beautiful as this snow?

Your home is far

Have another cup and warm yourself

My home is near

It's delicious

Nice compliment

It's not that. It's really tasty

Right? It makes a nice souvenir

Thank you

Yukiko's crying. Is she all right?

Sure. All babies cry

Another round?


Wake up!


Come to the hospital

If someone replaces me

A taxi's waiting for you at Biyoro

Go ahead!

Rear, okay

Signal, okay



What? It can't happen!




Six minutes late

My condolences, Stationmaster

Your baby's dead

But you came to see her, waving the flag

Because I'm a railroader

What else can I do?

Who else would wave the train signals?

Or line the switch?

Your child...Yukiko...

She's back only
when she's as cold as snow

The last train left

Oto, drink and sing!

It tastes good

What will you do?

How many times must I ask you?

You're a widower

As your old friend, I should be

That's why I'm worried

You must tell me what you'll do

I won't go home before you do

I'm not asking you to

Not again!

What'll you do?

Tell me exactly

I'll do nothing

Mr. Otomatsu Sato! Come on!

Forget it, Sen

Forget it?

I can't

You won't be able to live here
after you quit

Where do you plan to live?

Tell me that, at least

Yukiko died here

My wife, too

But you'll have to leave

What'll you do?

The mines are closed

Only 200 old people are left

What if something happens?

I know you're secretly sick. You can't
tell when you'll have an attack

You've got to be prepared for it
Take my advice

Don't worry. Let me worry about myself

That's that

I am worried

I'm going to get a new job
after the age limit

But unless you do the same,

I won't be happy with it

Sen! It's time to go to bed

Help me

Help me once again

Oto, let's be together

Stay near me



What's wrong?

I inhaled gas!

Wait till we get out!




Sen, Sen...





I want to work with you forever

When I work at the Tomamu Resort,

I'll find you a good job



I'm useless off the railroad

An engineer, you can do anything

I'm stubborn, like my old man

He was my hero, so I joined the railroad

We were linked
somewhere on the same track

Tracks can bend
You can, too, if you want

Do you remember?

When our union had a strike and
stopped all trains,

we carried those young workers fresh
from school to Tokyo

Yes. We did

I can't bend

Not anymore

Not at my age


After we take the kids,

we'll continue the strike

Those kids are going far
from their parents

All we can do is take them
to Tokyo safely


We are internationalists

Shall we sing the Communist song?

Then they'd lose their jobs

Let's pray for the success of...

the boys and girls who'll work in Tokyo!

Long lives!

Blow the whistle!

Let them remember the sound!

Stationmaster! Stationmaster

Stationmaster! Stationmaster

What do you want?

My doll is missing

Are you her sister?

I'll turn on the light

That one?


She said she lost it

Now you found it

I don't know you. Where do you live?

Near the shrine. I'm Sato

But there are lots of Satos in town

Me, too

Near the shrine?

Isa's daughter?


We came to my grandpa's house

Don't walk alone at night

No bears will come...

but you might slip or fall in a ditch

I'll take you

Never mind


It's not far

And the moon is bright

How old?


Junior high school? You have long legs


The last year



A leak?

I'm afraid. Will you escort me?

All right

Look. It's there

Nothing to fear

What's wrong?

Please stay here



I promise


For your girl?

How about this?

Handmade. It's valuable

A doll for a newborn baby?

Oto's hasty

It's his first gift. I'm glad

I'll make a dress for her

He loves you very much

What a nice father!

Thank you

Not at all. Warm yourself

The stove

A friend of mine. He's a walrus

A sleeping fatso!


No. It's hot


Your family must be worried

I'll take you home

Have a sip

No thanks

Close your eyes

Close your eyes

A surprise

If I close my eyes? Really?

Nothing happens


I kissed you!

No joking

I'll be back tomorrow. Bye!

Be careful

What is it?


She came for this, but forgot to take it

I want to take it, but...

She lives near the shrine. Name's Sato

A child?

Yes, a girl

What time?

One o'clock

You had a dream

She's from the city. She sits up late

Maybe Snow Lady

If it was Snow Lady who kissed me,
I'd be frozen


Was she really there?


Oto, are you sure
it was a girl who kissed you?


Wasn't it her mother or grandma?

Anyway, it's a kiss

Get lost


Sen, sleep here

Oh? You still keep those things
we used long ago?

Good old days!

It still smells...

The smell of rust and coal

The smell of the mold on an old station

My eyelids and hands were dark
with coal dust

I thought they'd never be clean

But somehow or other, as time passed,
they got clean

They got clean and tamed

They used to knock
five or six guys down in a fight

It was long ago. Forget the past

Don't be smart!



It's no fun to push a drunk around
Stop it, will you?

Shut up, railroader!
None of your business!

Damn Communists!


You regular workers easily go on strike

It's us temporary workers
who lose our job for it

Shut up!

Immigrant miners like you

break strike and shorten
the life of a mine

I came from the south thinking

I could work here till I die

But the mine's closed now

Because of you lazy workers!

Watch your tongue! Don't push your luck!

You can't talk to us like that!

Stop! Don't bully him!

He's alone

So you want to fight for him?

Interesting! Let's get out!

Let's get out!

Stop it! Sit down, everybody!

Stand up only when you pay your bills

Drink on the house tonight

Drown your worries in sake

Excuse me

I'll wave neither the Red Flag
nor the Rising Sun

I'll wave my own flag of sake

Sonny, what'll you have?

A bowl of chicken and eggs?
Or pork and rice?

All right, I'll make it for you

This way

It hurts!

He could stay here...

but he'll have work tomorrow

His barracks isn't far

Take care

Can you walk alone?

Try to walk alone

Come on!


Hey! Don't sleep! Keep awake!

Don't worry, son

He's strong

It's cold tonight

Let's throw snowballs

You're home!

Your mom?

Only Dad and I came from Kyushu

Mom left home with my sister

So I must take care of him

Bring sake! Sake and a basin!

A basin!

When your dad is back, eat with him

For him from the restaurant

How's it going?

I didn't think it was easy
It really isn't

I told Toshi we'd have a feast

Shall I order food from the restaurant?

Don't lie to kid

Can I tell Toshi our idea tonight?

That we want to adopt him
The sooner, the better

I see

He'll succeed you


Railroaders and miners are alike

They aren't good jobs

Still, you want him to be a railroader
It's in your eyes

No joking

What are you doing?

Auntie cooked it all

Eat your fill

It's delicious. Shall I cut the cake?

I'll make some tea

Are you all right?

Toshi needs a "mother"
to take care of him

I must go to the hospital,
so I can't stay home

I'll give him up

I'll take care of him anyway

Whether I adopt him,
or what he will be...

is for us to decide, after discussing it

I think it's our fate

I talked with my husband

We'll help you...

so please adopt him as your child

One bottle of milk is enough

An old woman needs two for her bones

My bones? Look at me

I'm younger than you

You needn't do that

Toshi's passport?

Where in Italy?

How many times must I tell you?



I'll learn cooking at school

How long?

It depends. He's smart

He'll learn quickly

So, Oto, he'll be away for years

As I told you, I adopted him

I'm old. Anything can happen

Toshi won't leave me

Congratulations, Toshi!
It's your chance. Try hard

I'm sorry

It's your son's leap into the world

Don't be

Congratulations, Toshi!
It's your chance. Try hard

Thanks. Take care of Granny

"Granny," huh?

His passport

He's wearing a tie. Looks great

Thanks to the teacher

We must thank her

Thank you


Italian cuisine is good

So are your lunches

But lunches are common

Italian food will be popular

Let's have a toast

We don't have wine, but sake will do

Sake during the day?

I hear, in ltaly, even kids drinks wine


The first lesson in ltalian food
for you all

drink to the future ltalian chef

Your passport

Let me pour

Toshi, try hard. Cheers!


Oto, your wife must be worried, too

So is my wife

I told her I'd convince you this time
by all means

Maybe I'm too forward,

but I'm trying to find nice apartment
in Tomamu for you



Good morning

How's your restaurant?

It'll be ready

What did you name it?


Hi, Toshi!

The Biyoro stationmaster
will patronize you

But you must name it first

Granny suggested we keep it a secret

till it's ready, but...

I'll tell you

It's "Locomotiva"


A locomotive in Italian

Granny likes it

Then we must give you a present

No, no

You've always been kind to us

Don't mention it

It's great

I'll present a big wreath
to celebrate the opening

Sleep on my proposition

Please leave me alone

What'll happen to this engine?

It's old

Built in 1 957

We were feeding coal
to the steamers then

Will it be scrap?

If lucky, it'll go to a museum or a park

Sometimes God appears quickly

Won't they put me in a museum, too?

Answer me later

Signal, okay


Rear, okay

Horomai Station

This is Sapporo Headquarters
Hold the line

Hello. Happy New Year! This is Hideo

Hideo? Happy New Year!

You're part of management now

Your father returned to Biyoro

I couldn't go to see you yesterday

I'm sorry

That's all right

My father said you aren't worried, but

I'm trying to find you a railroad job

Only it isn't easy

Don't worry about me


I believed my father's saying and
practiced it. He said...

"Steam engines will rebuild
This country after the war"

"Work with them"

So I did

I became an engineman

Now I'm going to end my career
as a railroader

I did my best. No regrets


Thanks just the same

Don't use the phone for things like this

Hang up

Wait! Wait uncle

What happened?

Here's news for you

The Horomai Line will be closed
earlier than planned...

at the end of the term...

at the end of March

You'll be notified later this week, but

I wanted to tell you first

I'm sorry. It's bad news


Thanks, Hideo, for your consideration

Uncle, I'm extremely grateful to you

I could go to school for many years

because you ran the train, rain or shine

between school and home

I can't explain well

Thanks to you, I could get my education

Forget it

Besides my stuff...

You're a railroader
A member of the staff

You have a lot of work

Try your best


What is it?

I was right


A baby


Our baby

The doctor said so



Two months and a half

It's been seventeen years!

People can see us

That doesn't matter

It does

Sometimes I don't understand you

If you're happy, say so

Stop it

No! Look at me

Say, "You're great!"


Come on!

I've always felt indebted to you

I was sorry for you
Because I couldn't give you a child

For 1 7 years!

I thought God was mean to me

As I saw Hideo, my heart pained

I never blamed you

You did

I didn't

You did!

You did!

You did!

I knew you blamed me

I knew...

They're watching us

Hello, stationmaster!

Oh? Another sister of the girl's?

How do you know?

Why not? It's the third time

My sister troubled you last night

I'm sorry

No. I enjoyed her company

Go in


Thank you

Her doll is there

Are you back with your parents?


Is your mother Yoshie at Enjo Temple?

I look like her?


Your uniform looks like
that of old Biyoro High School

But they wear track suits now

Some uniforms look alike

You look like Yoshie
as a high school student

Then I'll serve you a cup of sweet soup

I made it a while ago for the trainmen

I don't know if it's good

Eat it

I feel fine now that I found out

I was wondering
whose daughters they were

Who could be old and pretty
enough to be your mother? Yoshie

Your mother was the best

She was the leader of students
at Biyoro High School

The priest must be glad...

to live with three pretty granddaughters

Why? Do I look funny?

No. Your uniform is wonderful

This one?

I have a new one

But I prefer this

I like railroads

I'm in railfan club at school

You like it?

Few girls do, but...


You don't see
these old ticket-servers anymore

I'll show you something

Come here

Come in


A D-51 engine plate!

It's worth a lot!

A C-26 pressure gauge!

Take anything you like

Really? Anything?

Even that D-52 plate?


The priest, your grandpa,
is always kind to me

I am donate, too


So many valuable things!

A diesel engine whistle?

A D-51 whistle!

What a collection!

It's good

It's ready

I'll eat with you

Thank you

Then I'll eat

Please eat

It's sweet!


Stay a little longer

Enmyou Temple isn't far

Wonderful! You look nice!

This one...

I had a girl

She died soon

It was our fault

We let her sleep in the wind

We didn't know she caught cold

We should've taken her
to the hospital quickly

The Horomai Line will be closed

What'll happen?

It'll be gone

The station? The track? This building?

They'll be gone


It'll turn to wilderness
like it once was


Back to the barren fields
before the railroad came

They'll forget it was here



I have no regrets

There's nothing I can do

Memories will remain

Nice, happy memories...

Well, we talked a lot tonight

The train's coming

I'll take you home later

Have a good rest

It's getting colder

Put this on

Sen's waiting,

the hospital's open for you. Don't worry



I'd planned to take care of you
for the rest of your life, but

I guess not

You'll get well quickly

That worries me

Stationmaster, can I get started?


Rear, okay

Signal, okay

Cold, isn't it?

Here's hotchpotch. It'll warm you


It's a treat. Did you make it?

I used the food in your fridge


You made this all so quickly?

Can I use this?

Sure. It belonged to my late wife

I'm surprised

You're a good cook


You know how to cook food
without wasting it

You'll make a good wife



A little

I don't know, but it's like magic

I want to marry a railroader

I must make meals quickly

You're qualified

Then I'll eat

Thank you



I feel my heart is full of emotion


I'm a lucky man

I did what I wanted to do,

and I couldn't save my wife and daughter

But everybody around is kind to me

I'm really happy


Yes, I mean it

I can die any moment now

It's really delicious



Happy New Year, priest!

Your granddaughter is here

She's lovely

She even cooked for me

That's right

That's right


Can such a thing happen?



Why lie to me?

Because you might be afraid

I'm sorry

Why afraid of you?

What father...
would be afraid of his daughter?

I'm sorry

You came here...

to show me how you'd have grown up,
if you hadn't died

You appeared at first
as a little girl with a doll

You came again at night
a little older...

in a high school uniform

1 7 years!

You showed me
how you'd grow up in seventeen years

You showed it to me

You had nothing good in your life. Right

I died without giving you
anything to please you

So l...

I remember this doll. It's that one...

The one your mother put in your coffin

I treasured it

You bought it for me at Biyoro

Mother made a vest for it

That's right


That day. When you died...l was here

I swept the snow off the platform

I wrote a report on this desk:

"All correct today"

You're a railroader
What else could you do?

I don't mind it at all

I'm sorry

Thank you, Father

I'm happy

"All correct today"

Put him inside

Poor Oto!

He died content...

on the snow-covered platform

I'll run it


Don't worry

I ran steam and diesel engines
for twenty years

I'm better at it than you

They wouldn't like to see me do it

Cover the windows

Oto, I'll see you only in dreams
from now on

Let's give this old thing
its last drive together



The sound of the horn touches my heart

I like the "bullet" train,

but the diesel horn sounds better

For no reason

You know I feel like crying

Not really

Our railroaders still have work to do

Not yet

Not taught railroader is
ever moved to tears