The Song of Bwana Toshi (1965)

  |  Drama

Traveling to Africa in a cultural exchange program, a young Japanese engineer discovers a world completely unlike the one he knows. His interaction with the Africans he meets reveals to him... See full summary »


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2 November 2006 | baffawaffa
| this is a wonderful movie, and I really really wish it were available on DVD. I'd LOVE to see it again.
A stout, serious Japanese engineer goes to Africa to set up prefabricated dwellings for an distinguished Japanese naturalist who has been living in the bush. Our engineer, mister Toshi, experiences huge culture shock among the Africans. Plus, the naturalist has "gone native." He doesn't want prefabricated housing from Japan. Mister Toshi's whole mission has become pointless. Nevertheless, a job's a job. Faillure is not an option, so mister Toshi gets busy. he recruits a construction crew from among the locals and tries to inspire them with stick-to-it-iveness, work ethic, his own sense of urgency. Of course, they have their own point of view; a completely different sense of time, of purpose, and an entirely different social matrix. They are amused by him, sometimes exasperated, and often strikingly kind to him. but they're always saying don't worry, we don't have to do this right now, and such. things reach a crisis point, and he impulsively slaps one of the men. This act of rudeness produces a huge, dire rupture. He becomes persona non grata. Then, a tragedy occurs. There is beautiful, sunny, sympathetic girl (she's amazingly beautiful, an African face seen by Japanese aesthetics). She dies, in an agricultural accident, completely unconnected with the Toshi enterprise, and in the community's grief, and Bwana Toshi's grief, there is a reconciliation. I can't even remember if the prefabricated housing ever gets done. Of course it doesn't much matter. When Bwana Toshi leaves to go back to Japan, the locals have composed a song for him and they sing it for him. It's an incredibly sweet song. I cried, looked around, there was not a dry eye in the house. I just loved this film. It's one of the movies I'd most like to see again.

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Release Date:

June 1967



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