Muddy River (1981) - full transcript

Two boys, whose parents ply their trade by the mouth of a muddy river in Osaka, become close friends. The two families' "businesses" are in fact dining and prostitution. When Nobou, the restauranteur's son, loses his pocket money during the Tenjin Festival, Kiichi, the prostitute's boy, invites him home, and he learns the truth.

(Doro no kawa)

Producer - Motoyasu KIMURA

Original Novel - Teru MIYAMOTO

Screenplay - Takako SHIGEMORI


Takahiro TAMURA

Mariko KAGA

Nobutaka ASAHARA




Directed by - Kōhei OGURI

My goodnes... what a mess you made?

I'm just a lonely bird
who needs to find himself a nest.

Can I have some sesame seed cake?

Just scraps, how can you be so mean?

You eat enough.
You never want for food.

Come and eat with me. Get a spoon.


Your father likes playing the boss
and eating with the cook.

Eat up.

Tell me...
would you like to drive a truck?

Do you want me to teach you?

Would you?

Can you really teach me?

I'm going to learn to drive a truck.

Who do you think you're kidding?

Uncle likes to joke with you for fun.

He's just pulling your leg.

You look at his horse and wagon...

it sometimes hauls
more than a truck in it.

A horse and wagon's no joke...
Take's a lot of effort.


I was away in Okinawa for ten years.
Still, life hasn't changed much.

Will he really let you
drive a freight truck?

Says he'll buy two,
but nothing so far.

Today loads are a very heavy.

We were hoping...
he'd buy a truck for you.

- It'd be much better, no?

It would make life a lot easier.

- Right.

Thank you.

I'm off then.


Git up!

Come on... git up!

Move it!

Pull! pull!

Put your back in it! Pull!

Driver uncle... he just died.

- It's true.

The wagon rolled over his body.

- Quick, come on.

How'd it happen?

Quick, get him out!

O-san! O-san!

Wake up!

He's over there.

Don't look!

Quick! Call an ambulance!

Nobuo, stay back!

I never even thought about it...
that he could go so quickly.

The accident... was so sudden.

We hardly saw him.

He worked so hard,
but was still optimistic.

For ten years... he always came in
to eat our sesame cake.

It's true... he kept going.
He wasn't one to worry.

I thought... that dying in battle in
the war, that would our fate.

At least that's what I used to think.

Having survived the war...
he should have had a decent life.

But I now think...
compared with death in battle...

today's accident was much sadder.

Do you really think like that?

Such a sudden accidental death...
one never knows it's coming.

this kind of person becomes...

isolated... and
remains unnoticed until he dies.

It's not easy.

Maybe... if he'd been at a protest...
he wouldn't have died.


do you feel guilty?

No. a man died...
and won't come back.

Nothing I can do... will change that..

It's the first time I've felt...
something like divine intervention.

It's a great pity.

He was an kind...
and hard working man.

I was thinking...

Since coming to Osaka,
our family's safe now.

I... want to thank you very much.

I want to go somewhere.

Where to?

I have to go...

to O-san's hometown.

Do you really have to go?

Yes, even if only...
to console his family.

After all.. I'm his oldest friend.

Let's sleep now.

What're you doing?

These things are dangerous.

Someone could die... because of them.

I'm not stupid... I know.

A big fish... a big fish...
it just jumped... over there.

There... a big fish... just there...
a real big one... just a moment ago.

Don't make loud noises.
Have to be quiet...

or it'll get scared away.

Oh... I saw it. A really big one.

I'm just fooling with you.
You getting frightened?

Are you okay with me?

My family's over there.


Over there... there...
over there on that boat.

I've never seen in one.
Can I have a look? -Sure.

You look cold.

You should be careful, it's cold out.

I've got to get back.

Eat up, you look so dull.

You went out in the wet?

Why are you so hot?

If it's a fever,
it's all his own doing.

Get to bed and get under the covers.

How did you get in such a state!

I caught a chill.

Ehh... there's a boat
moored over there.

It showed up yesterday.

It doesn't look very nice.

Can you see in it from here?

It's a barge.

People live there...
right on the boat.

What kind of boat is it?

It's a houseboat... people live in
it just like in a house.

Just about the water line...
that's where the family lives.

Stay under the covers!

Here you are.

Here it is.
- No hurry.

I've got some.

Some seasoning for me, thanks.

Do you wanna play?

Wanna play together?

Well... about you...
I really don't know anything.

Shhh... keep your voice down.
This is just between us.


Want to come to the boat?

Come on.

Look out.

You okay?

Careful, that spot's dangerous.

Who's that?

He lives in the shop opposite.

Take off your shoes.

Kii-chan, can you clean these up?
- Right.

What's your name?

I don't like to say just yet.

What grade are you?

Third year.

He's my little brother, Kiichi.
(Afectionately Kii-chan)

Is your name Kii-chan?


What school do you go to?

I'm not in school.

All clean, get up.
- Thanks.

You can come inside if you like.
If you don't have to go back right away.

Did you drain the water?

Yes, all done.
I finished all my chores.


Could you get me a glass of water?
Suddenly I feel so thirsty.

Is someone... there with you?

Kii-chan's friend.

His friend...?

Where does he live?

On the opposite bank.

Are you hungry?
Take a snack, and give him one too.


Nabuo, don't pee where we sleep!

What a silly thing. Go outside.

Auntie... good morning to you.

Good morning.

Gran... have you read this book?

I had a look at it.

Damned annoying.
I'm always so tired.

Lately I can't seem to fall sleep.

One year follows another.

Never any prospects.

Is that so?


I brought some sweet potato.

Ahh... very good. Thank you!

You're a good wife. Not only diligent,
but you choose your diet well.

Some things are easily forgotten, but
you never forget how to prepare food.

You're right again.
You're certainly a model housewife.

Ask your son if he figures
I'm a good wife and loving mother.

Oh my... now you value my oppion.

Submarine... you know about them?


Gran... what are you talking about?

Simply put,
the ship sails under water.

Under water...
a ship can't sail under water.

Wrong... a submarine adjusts
the water it holds.

The volume of water...
decides it's depth in the water, no?

If it takes in water... it sinks down
and moves... under the water.

When it discharges water...
it rises...

dun, dun, dun to the surface.
Using water volume it can do that.

How come the people inside
don't get drowned under the water?

loves the water like a fish.

My turn, my turn!

It's hard.

You should be careful. Don't just...
casually bring anyone onto the boat.

There's someone in the river.

In the river!

Maybe he's just going for a swim.

I saw it myself,
he hasn't come back up.

Oh, there really is a boat.

That's not good, there's no-one there.

Wha... no-one there?

You say this was yesterday evening.

You saw a man jump into
the water from his boat?

Okay then.

For you.

Think carefully.

Did it look like an accident,
or was it intentional?

I don't know.

This isn't getting anywhere!

I only know what I saw,
not why.

You said he went into the water?

Why couldn't he have
been acting intentionally?

It's also possible that that man
can't swim so well.

This missing man...
you don't know where he lives.

You hadn't considered he might've
been swimming to his house?

This investigation needs to be thorough.
It's not for you to decide arbitrarily.

Maybe the missing man
was catching fish illegally.

What did you say?

He was catching fish at night
so he wouldn't be fined.

They haven't found a body yet.

Could it be a man catching fish
was caught by the fish himself.

It's right there he disappeared.

Oh, is it?

Actually yesterday evening was so dark
my son couldn't have seen so clearly.

He wants me to catch a criminal
without any certainty of it.

This matter is a headache.
Couldn't it have been suicide?

Suicide... why think that?

He wants to end it that evening
and finishes his own life.

He's not originally a fisherman,
so he can't swim.

He responds to adds for work
encounters only rejections...

can't see any hope.

Ehh... no job?

What are you thinking? Eat your dinner.

Say... the next time I see Kii-chan
can I bring him to visit us?

Who is Kii-chan?

A friend of mine.

If you don't quarrel with him
he's welcome to come?

He also has an older sister.

Elder sister?

Can she come too?

Nobuo... this friend...
does he live in that houseboat?

Yes... he's in third grade,
and his big sister can read.

When did you become
friends with them?

Not long ago.
His sister is really nice.

You've been getting along with them?

Yes. I'm sure you'd like
to meet their mother too.

You mean... even their mother...
wants to come?

Maybe she can't.

Is it all right if they come?

I'm not against it...
friendship's good.

Only... that boat...
don't go there any more.


That boat...
why won't you let him go?

Why should he?.

Is the boy no good?

It has nothing to do with the children.

What do you mean?

A young child... shouldn't spend...
too much time on that boat.

It's not healthy for a young boy.

You say, "Good evening".

"Good evening. Good evening."

"Hello" is different.

Can't you shut up?

Good evening, Good evening...


Good evening!

Good evening!

Please come in.

It'll be so nice...
to have a meal together.

You can sit here.

Say... you don't need to be polite,
just eat.

Thanks for the food.

Thanks for the food.

Thanks for the food.

Everybody is so smart...
all using the right etiquette.

I'll get some more for you.

Here you are.

I hope you like this.

Auntie, you don't know our names.

Don't tell me I'm not remembering
what you told me to say.

What... is your name?

- I'm Kiichi MATSUMOTO

Well... I'm glad to meet you.

Does your mother cook for your family?

No, I do it.

Really? What a good girl.

Cooking and all the housework,
my sister does it all.

Then what does your mother do?

That's enough.

Ginko-chan, how old are you?

Ten years old.

I see.

For one so young....
you're a really diligent worker, aren't you?

Ginko-chan really is a fine young woman.

My dream is to be a military officer,
a real man.

Yes? So determined!
Can you sing any military songs?

Of course.

Give us a song then.

Yes, sing for your supper!

Fine, my belly is not hungry now.

We are the nation's brave servicemen...

crossing the mountains
and bridging the seas.

We fight with no fear for our life...

but only for the motherland.

We must surely achieve final victory.

Even if it means
we fight single-handedly.

Do not fear the battlefield gunsmoke.

Only show your loyalty.

You sing really well!

Really great.


tell me then...

can you sing...
other military songs?

I can sing all the military songs.

You can sing all of them?
That's really something!

Then sing another,
a different one.


Go on.

We live here
seeking our longed for life.

Life like dust
fills the air and the sky.

It has not blocked
our clear judgement.

Life is as helpless
as a bandage wrapping...

But cannot bind
our determined footsteps...

as we continue
to advance straight ahead.

Our mood is as wide as the world.

Freedom is our goal.

Really... it's so nice to hear.

It's the first time I've ever
heard a child sing so well.

Who's your teacher?

My dad... but he's not here now.

I see.

Your father was really great... teaching
you such an outstanding ability.

That's right...
I have a one-piece dress upstairs...

that would suit Ginko-chan perfectly.

Come on, come with me.

You just wait and see.


Ahh... you got off early tonight.

We're starved.
- Can't you get us something quick?

I don't have anything ready now.

Want a drink?

No, I'm not drinking.

Something to eat.

We couldn't come earlier.

It's not all business with us.

That's so.


You don't need to study now.

Just reading doesn't always
bring good results.

Isn't this kid from that brothel boat?

Yeah, it's the prostitute's kid.

That's enough! Don't talk like that...
not in front of the boy.

What's the fuss?

There's no harm in it.
We're just teasing him a little.

I don't agree.

Time to go now.

Didn't you hear?

What did we do?

You're crazy to send customers away.

This is crazy.
- It's crazy.

Why did they leave?

They're not welcome.
- What happened?

No matter.

Ohh! Look at this.

Hey... what a beautiful young woman?


And if fits well too.
It's just right for you.

Why don't you have a look at your sister?

What do you think?

That's right... there's also
something for you, just wait.

Kiichi-chan... My dad's
going to do some magic for us.

Here we are.

These are the stage props.

Some peas.

Here are three cups, all the same.

We take one of these out
and put it here, so...

This is empty.

This is also empty.

And this is empty.

And then...
I put the pea under this cup, so...

I'm going to move the cups.

The hand is quicker than the eye.



It's moving.

Where is the pea hiding now?

Which one is it under?

This one?
- Are you sure? Have a look.


Under this one.

Can I try again.

You want another go? Fine, fine.

This one has nothing, this one has nothing,
and this one has nothing.

We cover it up.
The eye stays fixed on this cup.

Check to see where it actually is, so.

This to here, This to here.

Where is it now?

Let's see...which one should I say?

Guess quickly.

This one.

That's not it

Wrong guess.

Wrong guess once again, eh?

This one.

Uncle, how do you do it?

Actually, it's not too difficult.

The bathroom's on the left, just there.

You're always tricking children.

The only time I can trick them is when
they're still innocent children, so why not?

Who's trying?

Nabuo-chan... try for me.

I don't know where it is either.

Uncle, were you a magician before?

I'd like to be a magician.

He used to perform tricks for me, too,
and keeps on doing them.

Don't tell them the secret.

Come on, guess again.

You changed...?

would like you to have it?

What's wrong?
Did something upset you?

I'm very happy.
Thank you for tonight.

Kii-chan, let's go.

Uncle... will you show me next time?

Oh... yes... for sure.

Ginko-chan, you come again too.


I'll go with them.

Those two children...
really are pitiful.

Leave that kind of sorrowful talk alone.

Every day they get up...
they have to depend on themselves.

They don't have anything.

A father in name only.
One never to be seen... or relied upon.

No doubt he suffered hardship...
before returning from the war.

Intended to live well... originally

He couldn't manage on the battlefield,
his two children are left to suffer.

Such is the calamity of war.

War with a neighboring country... seeing
masses of people die again and again.

Can anyone... really come back normal?

You are really lucky to have them...
your parents.

Ginko-san, Kiichi-kun...
did you understand? - Yes.

Everybody's father and mother...
are now living in Osaka.

But they all go out to work for you.

To them you are all very important.

Regardless of the type of work
they have to do.

For instance freight loading
is very laborious.

Therefore you musn't think
that studying is boring. - Yes.

Why are you standing?

School's out at last.

Oh, you made me jump!

I'm going to watch
the sumo wrestling at home.

Sumo wrestling?

They're broadcasting the
sumo wrestling competition.

Hiroshi... can I watch?
Can I bring Kiichi with me too?



He's my friend.


We could all go together.

No, we'll go by ourselves... let's go.

Sorry for the wait.

It looks good.

That's it... He's got him!

He's in the way. Let's get up higher.
- Right.

Hey there!

At least, come to see her... please.

When did you get back?
- Just now.

That fellow...

is insisting.

I'd better go back.

Why does it have to be like this?

It would seem...

he really is a bastard.

Where do you have to go?

Ah... today...

That man who was here?
- Ya.

I mean... regardless of whether I
want to go... I have to.


You understand... right...
I have to go see her in hospital.

Although you don't know her...
she's closely related to you.

Who is she?

Well... it was...
from before you were born.



But why did that man tell you?

That's because... she's now his wife.

It's hard for Dad...
because she's now being treated

for a serious illness.

She had fallen in love
with your father... long ago.

She and your Dad were very close.

Do you understand?

That is... she's your mother.

Your change, thank you.

You see... Sadako-san...
He can't afford her treatment.

That may be...

whatever happens to this woman...

I have always...
treated him as my own son.

Even though...
you've done nothing wrong.

Truly... she is very ill.
Let him visit her.

He has always been good, yes?

He has been brought up by you...
and has become very lovable.

She is the biological mother...
shouldn't she at least see her child?

We are all human...

everyone gets hurt...
and has to feel pain.

Everyone's this way.

You must think about it carefully...

She also feels pain...
and deserves some sympathy too.

I've decided what I'll do...

I'll go too.

It's you.

I always think well of you.

I brought him to see you.

Is it already ten years?

Your Papa will...
love you well and much longer.

I can't live very long.
Thank you.

Thank you.

It's all because of me... I'm sorry!




Nabuo, want some?
- Ya.

Your mom already fell asleep.

You met your biological mom... eh?

It's a long time since you were born.
It's already 11 years.

Still your mom...
continues to think about you.


No... it's me.

Oh... Nabuo-chan?


Since you're here now...
come and see me.

Nabuo-chan, why don't you say anything?

Are you feeling shy?

No, I'm not

Let me see then how Nabuo-chan
presents himself in public.


You really are lovely.

You always look out for
my two children.

Please convey my thanks to your
mother and father also.

Your family has had the shop opposite
for a long time?


Your mother... and your father
living together... how happy it is.

It also makes me envious.

Since my husband left,
I've faced many unpleasant things.

Not everyone... can understand...

how I suffer to keep us alive here.

Before we had children...
he worked hard to earn.

I also used to work in a company.

- Yes.

Your mother... must surely be...
a kind and beautiful person.

Auntie, you are also very pretty.

If you have free time,
we can play together.

Thank you...
you really are a lovable fellow.

Ah... I think Ginko's come back.

Did you just get back now?

Just now I had a nice chat
with your mother.

Maybe there, maybe here... or there.

Fine, now guess.
1, 2, 3, stop.

Well? Which one?

This one.

This one?

Are you sure?
Want to change your mind?


That's right...
you still haven't figured it out.

Looks like you don't have the talent.

Dad, this year I will
see through your magic.

Kiichi-chan, you can come here
and study together with him.

You don't wanna try again.

It's no good.

We'll continue another time.
Tomorrow you may have better luck.

But I don't feel like stopping now.

That may be...
but you have to take time to refuel.

Dad... we can come to
a 'gentlemen's agreement' ?

it's a 'gentlemen's agreement' then.

I understand, I understand.

You two... really are young men.

Your figure's good!

you really know what to say.

I've never taken a bath
together with my mother.

Is that so?

I've always bathed myself
since I was very small.

I see.

Because you know... I always thought...
a girl should learn to do such things.

I'm not a very good girl.
Do you know what things I've done?

No, I'm listening.

I was in the cabin.
Mom was in the other one.

One time... in the winter...
I gripped the boat... breathing deeply...

Mom was sleeping soundly.
I made it sound like my hand...

was grasping the boat from the river.

"Mother", I said again loudly...
but she didn't seem to hear me.

Did it really happen?

Yes it did... but 30 seconds later...
they were awakened by my noise.

They started to think I was in the
river and would freeze to death.

So then she... woke up my father,
and he became worried too.

Both of them ran out to rescue me.

But by that time, I was lying down...
comfortable in my quilt.

That really hapapened.

Nabuo, do you know the steamboat?

The steamboat.

always wanted to ride on it.

It's auntie.
- Nobuo...!

She looks frightened.

Nobuo-chan... d'you know
where your father is?

No, I don't.

It's just we've got lots of customers...
and he's not in.

Nobuo-chan, I need your help.
Can you come for a bit?

Ginko, you can help too.

Good, delicious.

Here, take this out.
- Yes.

You haven't finished that?

No I haven't.

This is good, too.

You really are too busy!

Some tea here.

Yes, just a moment.

These vegetables are good.

Your father... where did he go?

He isn't back yet.
What can have happened?

Heho God, blesses the common people.

He's not here, my dad.
- He forgot our 'gentlemen's agreement'.

He tricks people.

Don't you wonna play too?

Both of us?

Hey there!


Hey... it's good and delicious.


Don't forget.

Is it sweet?

Very sweet and very delicious.
Hopefully your elder sister's the same.

That's disgusting!

What are you doing?

I'm warming my hands.

It's getting colder more often.
The season's changing.

You like the boat?

It all depends.

Before the cold comes,
it feels good and we're all happy.

That's the best time.

My mother said as much.
Good memories, eh.

Can we have some money...
We wanna go play at the fair.

You both going?

My father is really bad.

Where's your brother?

The other side.

Don't play for too long...
and don't lose the money.

I won't lose it.

Be careful.


It's the first time I've had so much...
in my own hand.

Let's hurry.

How much?

One copper.

We want this, we want that...
we don't have enough money.

We won't buy anything now,
We'll check everything out first


Kiichi, we should keep it together...
otherwise it's easier to lose.


Keep it safe.

We can buy something...
but only with half the money.

That's good.

We'll buy one.

Fine. Where's your money?

It's gone.

If we'd bought something... when
we started, it would've been better.

We have nothing...
I don't want to go back like this.

Your mother...

had to work for it... so... hard.

If we go back to my boat
we can play...

with crabs.

With crabs?

Right, I'll show you.

Are there crabs?

Wait a minute and let me grab it.

These are what's left over.

I think I'll go home.

I'm only starting it now.

This way, it'll die.

Just watch.

Let's do it again.

What's so fun...
watching it struggle?

Kiichi, it's dangerous. Don't do it.

Put some vegetables with it.

Did you run off to play.

Now that you're home...
why don't you come and help Dad?

Our little treasure can help too.

Come in... you just gonna
to stand there and gawk?

What is it?

What's the matter?
Is something wrong?

Nothing's wrong.

If that's so... come on in.

Sit down.

Dad... urgently...
had to leave for a while.

But I hadn't forgotten
our 'gentlemen's agreement'.

Still keen?

All of a sudden your Dad's back.

Are you so happy
you're lost for words?

He's changed.

I had to see an old friend
before he left...

They were sending him to China.

Nabuo-chan, we were hoping
every day that Dad would come back.

Well now he's back with us.

Excuse us. It's a private matter.
Don't be embarrassed, go on eating.


Drink this down.

Me too, waitress.


Henceforth I'm no longer the fool.

No longer am I a lonely bored person.

As always the matter
which worries me the most...

Leaves me here unable to get to sleep.

Can't sleep?

All tired out?

Today I went to see a play.

what a nice artistic treat you had?

I very rarely see one.

Nabuo... you ever see a play...
together with a group?

I hate watching plays.

My goodness... Nabuo... Nabuo-chan...

take a look at the boat opposite.

Nabuo, did you guys quarrel?

We didn't quarrel.

what's your problem them?












Cinematography - Shohei ANDO

Sound Dept. - Hideo NISHIZAKI

Music - Kurōdo MŌRI

Editing: Nobuo OGAWA

Production Design - Akira NAITŌ



Subtitles by Badge
(English & timing reworked by salmond)