Postman Blues

Director: Sabu
Screenwriters: Sabu

Institute History

  • 1998 Sundance Film Festival


Directed by one of the rising stars of Japan’s cinematic next wave, Postman Blues reflects the deep alienation and fanatical media fixation of contemporary youth culture. Director Sabu reveals a societal subcurrent of violence and the deep malaise of urban life beneath the surface of Japanese conformity. A simmering combination of action, comedy, and drama, Postman Blues is a flourish of visual style and vivid

Until now, Sawaki, a postman, has lived a quiet, if somewhat unremarkable, life. One day while making his daily rounds, he runs into Noguchi, an old friend who has become a drug dealer. Into Sawaki’s bag, Noguchi sneaks a package of drugs and also, inadvertently, a finger severed by his yakuza bosses in retaliation for a botched job. That evening, when reading from his stash of undelivered letters, Sawaki learns of a young woman who is dying of cancer. Fascinated by this stranger’s tragedy, he rushes to her bedside. In the process, Sawaki befriends a professional hit man, Joe, who is close to Sayoko, the dying woman. En route to meet his new friends and fulfill his promise to Sayoko, Sawaki is unaware that he is suspected of murder and in dire peril. With a keen understanding of marginality, Sabu gives voice to characters who refuse to suffer silently or “know their place.” Building to a roaring, bloody crescendo, Postman Blues sketches a gripping portrait of rage, resistance, and the fulfillment of desire.

Sabu, Director
Born in Japan in 1964, Sabu began his professional career as a musician and singer before switching to acting. He starred in Katsuhiro Otomo’s World Apartment Horror (a performance which won him the Best New Actor of the Year Award at the Yokohama Festival). Sabu made his directorial debut last year with D.A.N.G.A.N. Runner and promptly earned the Yokohama Festival’s Best New Director Award.

— Geoffrey Gilmore, Rebecca Yeldham

Screening Details

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