Mr. Thank You (1936)
A film that changes the world
18 November 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Mr. Thank You tells the story (based on the work of Yasunari Kawabata) of Arigato-san (Ken Uehara), a friendly bus driver who drives from the mountains to the nearest train station. But the interesting thing about the film is not the trip, but what happens inside the bus; in this microcosm, a totally new and different way of looking at society can be seen.

The film is set in a context of rural exodus, in which villagers travel to Tokyo in search of opportunities. Each character has a story, a character, and a purpose, which makes the interactions that take place on the trip very rich; like the woman who, while flirting with the driver, puts everyone in their place.

But among all the passengers on the bus, Shimizu highlights the story of a girl (Mayumi Tsukij), who travels to Tokyo with her mother to be bought there. In just 76 minutes, the director is able to establish an emotional, though not direct, relationship between Arigato-san and the girl. Will our good-natured protagonist buy the girl?

But what is most striking about the film is the clean way it looks at Koreans. In a context of Japanese authoritarianism, considering Koreans as just another worker is something totally revolutionary.

Mr Thank You is a movie to take into account. Perhaps not because of its aesthetics or its plot, but because of the way it looks. A look capable of changing the meaning of the above, in which the bus, make no mistake, is nothing more than an excuse to look at the whole world.
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