The Village (Michihito Fujii, 2023) has at its heart a landfill that stands as a metaphor for the moral decay of the characters that populate the film. The villagers of Kamon-mura are not as bothered by the presence of a toxic landfill as they are by the presence of a certain Yuu Katayama (Ryusei Yokohama). The perception towards Yuu is not so much about Yuu as it is about his father’s ‘misdeeds.’ However, are things really that black-and-white here in Kamon-mura?

Here, the plot of The Village is broken down, and the ending is explained just a bit to help get a better understanding of the film.

The Village (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

Yuu Katayama has been leading a stale life in the Kamon-mura village for years. The villagers are merciless towards him, and his workplace is, literally and figuratively, toxic. The once scenic village, Kamon-mura, is now home to a gigantic landfill, and a waste management plant sits atop the mountains. Yuu is a worker at the landfill, and his primary duty is to recycle the waste. He lives with his mother, whose addiction to gambling and drinking is a further cause of concern. 

The waste management plant is not as harmless as it pretends to be. Every night, Yuu and the other workers must clear the path so that bio-hazardous waste can be secretly dumped in the landfill. 

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Misaki, Yuu’s old friend, returns to the village and starts working at the Public Relations wing of the plant. Meanwhile, Toru, Yuu’s manager, has his eyes on Misaki and gets increasingly jealous of their relationship. 

One day, Yuu’s mother creates a ruckus at a gaming parlor after losing all in a game. Kokichi, the policeman and a former resident of Kamon-mura advises Yuu to take care of his mother, his only surviving family member. Kokichi offers Yuu to hang out with him, and the two meet Misaki. Misaki and Kokichi perform an impromptu session of Noh, the traditional Japanese dance-drama. Kokichi then invites Yuu and Misaki to the Noh festival. While Misaki is excited to join the festival, despite being a performer once, Yuu has distanced himself from Noh. 

Kokichi goes back to his home where his mother and elder brother stay. Shusaku Ohashi, Kokichi’s brother, heads the Kamon-mura plant. It is revealed that Kokichi is not supportive of the idea of the landfill, and his departure from the village for good can probably be ascribed to the arrival of the plant. 

Misaki takes Yuu to the Noh festival. However, Yuu’s presence disgusts the villagers. Watching the Noh live, for Yuu, brings back the memory of the night Yuu’s father set himself and their house on fire. 

Misaki proposes the idea of excursions for elementary school students to make the factory look more family-friendly. She suggests Yuu be the tour guide as he had an affinity for public speaking in his childhood. Toru, who is jealous of Yuu being considered for such an aspirational role, insults Yuu, but Misaki convinces him to take up the role. 

The next day, the children arrive, and Yuu makes the tour a hit. Soon the tour gets featured on TV, making Yuu popular beyond the village. Although the villagers protested the decision to let Yuu get featured, the furor gets fizzled out eventually. When Yuu starts getting popular, Mr. Ohashi frees him from the night duty of dumping bio-hazardous waste in the landfill in order to remove all trails leading to him. 

One night, Toru arrives at Misaki’s place and tries to rape her. However, Yuu arrives just in time and fights intensely with him. The following day–the day of the TV interview– Yuu is seen arriving at the studio with an injured, swollen face. But his injuries are concealed using makeup, and he delivers yet another hit. Yuu’s TV show brings more tourists to Kamon-mura, and the public perception of Yuu starts changing for the better. 

One day, Keiichi, Misaki’s brother, uncovers the bio-hazardous wastes while hosing the landfill. Keiichi reports it to Kokichi, and the police raids the landfill at night. Toru, who is the landfill manager and Mr. Ohashi’s son, is nowhere to be seen. When Kokichi confronts his brother and lets him know about the progress in Toru’s case, the latter seems more bothered about the bio-hazardous waste scandal. 

A still from The Village (2023).
A still from The Village (2023).

Why is Yuu hated in his own village?

After the bio-hazard scandal of the plant comes out, Kokichi reveals that the plant has been the source of all that is wrong in the village. Kokichi says that the Kamon Environmental Centre will be successful in covering up the entire scandal like they had done ten years ago.  At the time of its inception, the plant met with huge protests. One of the protesters, Yuu’s father, was accused of killing an official. It is believed that, after the murder, he set fire to himself and his house. However, no proper investigation was initiated to find the real truth, and the case was closed. This is also the reason why Kokichi left the village. 

Therefore, the villagers’ antipathy towards Yuu is not for his own deeds but attributed to the swirling rumors around his dead father. 

What happened to Toru?

Toru’s body is found deep inside the layers of waste in the landfill. Yuu takes Keiichi for a ride and coaxes him to present himself as a false eyewitness. He asks Keiichi to convince the reporters that some unknown men picked up Toru due to his involvement in illegal activities. Keiichi is hesitant, but Yuu tries to convince him. Yuu, who is driving the car, gets distracted by the heated conversation and rams into a tree. While Yuu comes out nearly unharmed, Keiichi loses consciousness. Misaki asks Yuu to continue to be Keiichi’s hero and prepares to leave for somewhere, but Yuu stops her. 

Back in the police station, Kokichi recovers Toru’s phone, where he finds the photos of Yuu dumping the hazardous material and the video of Toru molesting Misaki with the voice of Yuu shouting at him. Although these pieces of evidence lead Kokichi to Yuu, the truth is yet to reveal itself.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

It is actually Misaki who killed Toru to save Yuu. Misaki was attempting to leave to disclose the truth about the real killer to the police. When Toru injures and impairs Yuu, Misaki strikes him from behind by plunging a scissor to his back. Toru dies, and they bury his body in the landfill. 

The Village (2023) Movie Ending Explained:

Who kills Mr. Ohashi?

In the end, Yuu arrives at Mr. Ohashi’s place to tell him something. Before Yuu begins his confession, Mr. Ohashi informs him that he is already aware of his involvement in Toru’s murder. However, Mr. Ohashi seems nonchalant. Instead, he embraces the news of Toru’s murder with a sense of relief. He argues that Toru had to be given cover-ups more often than not by him for his misdeeds. With the evidence gone, Mr. Ohashi believes that their own concocted narrative is the only way to save themselves now. 

Yuu, who is surprised by Mr. Ohashi’s remorselessness, broaches the topic of his father’s death and asks him if covering up his father’s death was this easy too. Mr. Ohashi, however, scoffs at Yuu and voices that sacrifices are necessary for the village. His words allude to a hidden truth– perhaps it is Mr. Ohashi who wrongfully framed Yuu’s father as a killer and set him on fire to give his murder the look of a suicide. When Mr. Ohashi suggests Yuu to frame Misaki for Toru’s murder, Yuu retaliates by killing him and setting his house on fire. The burning house engulfs Mr. Ohashi and his mother.

The film ends with Yuu walking away from the burning house, with Kokichi stopping him on his way. Kokichi’s bewildering expression suggests his helplessness in saving his family, akin to the one he experienced ten years ago when he failed to save Yuu’s father.

Read More: Kandahar (2023) Movie Ending, Explained: Do Tom and Mo Get Out in the End?

The Village (2023) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
The Village (2023) Movie Cast: Arata Furuta, Wataru Ichinose, Hana Kino
Genre: Drama
Original Language: Japanese
Director: Michihito Fujii
Writer: Michihito Fujii
Runtime: 2h 0m
Production Co: Star Sands


Where to watch The Village

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