Directed by Michihito Fujii, ‘The Village’ is a Japanese thriller drama film on Netflix that follows the tumultuous life of Yu Katayama. Ostracised by his community, Yu, a garbage disposal facility worker, leads a depressive life in the secluded despondent village of Kamonmura. After an old friend, Misaki Nakai, struggling with her own issues, returns to the village, the pair finds the promise of a changed life by each other’s side. However, when the jagged reality of Kamonmura comes out in the open, Yu is forced to face his family’s dark past.
Although Yu’s father has a brief on-screen presence, his actions heavily influence Yu’s storyline throughout the film. Due to the same, viewers might be curious to know more about Yu’s father and his fate. Therefore, here is everything you need to know about the same. SPOILERS AHEAD!
What Happened To Yu’s Father?
Initially, Yu’s Father is introduced into the narrative early on in the film. The story opens with Yu’s Father tearfully pouring gasoline around his house and setting it on fire. Afterward, a bright-eyed Yu watches his home reduced to flames, forever changed by the incident. Years later, as an adult, Yu faces constant bullying and condemnation from his community, with whispers following him from his workplace at the processing plant to the supermarket.
Yu’s father’s death also drives Yu’s mother, Kimie, to develop gambling and alcoholism problems. As such, Yu has to carry the burden of the household and keep the family afloat. On top of compensating for their livelihood and lost family home and belongings, Yu also has to pay back the mountainous debt his family has collected from local loan shark Masaru Maruoka. All-in-all, by burning himself down along with his house, Yu’s father seals Yu’s fate and condemns him to a life of struggle.
However, logistical struggles aside, Yu faces overwhelming oppression from his community due to the life his father led before committing suicide. Before the processing plant’s establishment, several village residents were vehemently against the idea. Kamonmura, a traditional village, values its connection to nature. Therefore, when the higher-ups pitch the idea of the processing plant, it’s met with considerable resistance.
Over time, the plant is able to cool that resistance down to a manageable degree, leaving only a handful of opposers standing. Due to their dwindling numbers, people in opposition to the plant begin to be shunned by the community. Unable to accept the defeat, Yu’s father took his anger and frustration to a village official and killed him as an act of revenge. After the crime, Yu’s father committed suicide.
However, at the film’s climax, when the village mayor tries to help Yu cover up Toru’s death, he admits to covering up Yu’s father’s death as well. The admission suggests the mayor, Shusaku Ohashi, had a hand in Yu’s father’s ultimate demise. Since Yu’s father was directly opposing the establishment of the processing plant, he posed a threat to Ohashi and his colleagues. Even though Yu’s father sets fire to his house on his own, his devastated state hardly proposes a man at peace with his death. Moreover, Yu’s father’s death and the death of the official he killed were both left severely underinvestigated by the authorities. As such, it is possible that the village higher-ups had a hand in Yu’s Father’s suicide.
Nevertheless, the fallout of Yu’s father’s suicide has a more significant impact on the village of Kamonmura than the simple act of it. After his death, the processing plant continued to expand, overtaking the mountains of the village. Moreover, the plant ultimately puts Kamonmura on the map, garnering huge swaths of tourists.
Ultimately, the plant’s secret operation of illegally dumping industrial waste into its landfill threatens to come out in the open. The operation is directly responsible for polluting the village’s natural water, which is the same thing Yu’s father and fellow opposers were against. In the end, Yu, who has become interconnected in the mayor’s web of lies, snaps in the same fashion as his father. Unable to deal with Kamonmura and its duplicity anymore, Yu burns the mayor’s house down, mirroring his father’s actions as revenge against the village and its corrupt community.