Tree Without Leaves

Rakuyoju 落葉樹

Director: Kaneto Shindo 新藤 兼人
Released: November 15, 1986
Distributor: Marui Kobunsha
Screenplay: Kaneto Shindo 新藤 兼人

Meiko Kaji 梶芽衣子 as Woman Who Comes To The Mountain
Keiju Kobayashi 小林桂樹 as Hatsu-rojin
Nobuko Otowa 乙羽信子 as Mother
Ichiro Zaitsu 財津一郎 as Father
Yamanaka Kazuki 山中一希 as Boy
Kawamichi Shinsuke 川道信介 as Brother
Midori Sono 園みどり as Oldest Sister
Shiori Wakaba 若葉しをり as Tsugiane


Meiko Kaji only has a small role, lasting around 10 minutes.

The house in the mountains where the old man lives was director Shindo's actual mountain retreat.



The film is a voiced-over narrative describing the early boyhood of a narrator, who is also depicted as an old man. The narrator describes his relationship with his mother and his father. His father's financial incompetence and idleness cause disaster for the boy's family. The boy's older brother and sisters all leave home, the older brother and older sister to get married, while his mother struggles on until her death, with the father doing little except sitting idly and smoking a pipe.

The boy, now an old man, is visited by a woman at his house in the mountains. She reads his life story, which he has written as a novel, and he reminisces about his mother, whom he wants to be remembered. The woman stays the night and then leaves the next day.

The film continues with reminiscences of the oldest sister leaving to marry a Japanese-American, his older brother pleading with his father again to go and live with them, and the house being demolished piece by piece as the boy's father sits motionless. Finally, the boy's mother dies.

Thanks to Wikipedia for the synopsis.