Asian

Ki-duk Kim – Bin-Jip AKA 3-iron (2004)

Synopsis
A transient young man breaks into empty homes to partake of the vacationing residents’ lives for a few days. Read More »

Kon Ichikawa – Taketori monogatari AKA Princess from the Moon (1987)

The old Japanese folktale of the Bamboo Cutter is here reinterpreted to make Kaguya an alien visitor. Sticking fairly closely to the original 9th century tale of a bamboo cutter finding a mysterious baby girl, this film puts a modern spin onto it by turning the beautiful visitor from the moon into an alien entity lost from a crashed spaceship. Read More »

Kon Ichikawa – Hi no tori AKA Firebird: Daybreak Chapter (1978)

This extraordinarily complex film is not only a send-up of every samurai film ever made, it is also an extrapolation of the value of life. The Yamatai, represented by Prince Susano-O and elderly advisor Sumuke, hire Yumihiko of Matsuro to hunt the phoenix so that Queen Himiko, sister of Susano-O can have eternal life. Read More »

Kon Ichikawa – Kagi AKA Odd Obsession (1959)

Winner of Cannes’ Special Jury Prize, Odd Obsession is one of acclaimed director Kon Ichikawa’s (Tokyo Olympiad, The Burmese Harp) greatest works. This captivating blend of comic satire and drama follows an elderly man’s attempts to satisfy his younger wife (Machiko Kyo, Rashomon, Gate of Hell). When “potency” injections fail, Mr. Kenmochi incites his own jealousy by orchestrating an affair between his wife and his doctor, who happens to be his daughter’s fiance. The wife and doctor are eager to oblige Kenmochi, his daughter is furious, and the scheme proves both a success and a deadly disaster. With dazzling imagery, rich irony, and superb acting, Odd Obsession illuminates the ongoing battle between personal desire and societal convention. Read More »

Kazuo Kuroki – Suri aka Pickpocket (2000)

Quote:
Kaido is a professional pickpocket who works the Tokyo subway with his young foster-daughter, Rei: She lets herself be groped while Kaido relieves the groper of his wallet. More often than not they’re observed by a middle-aged cop, who generally lets Kaido go free. Rei is unsettled when Kaido takes on a young street punk, Kazuki, as an apprentice — with instructions to make Kaido stop drinking. Kazuki, however, would like to go into business with Rei. Read More »

Yasuzô Masumura – Kono ko no nanatsu no oiwai ni AKA For My Daughter’s 7th Birthday (1982)

The film is Yasuzo Masumura’s last feature film, based on Mio Saito’s novel which wons him a Seishi Yokomizo Award, shot by Setsuo Kobayashi, principle cinematographers of such Kon Ichikawa & Yasuzo Masumura classics as Fires on the Plain, An Actor’s Revenge, Being Two Isn’t Easy, Ten Dark Women, A Wife Confesses, Red Angel, Blind Beast, Manji, Black Express… (Indeed I think he’s responsible for the look (for example, the tight framing & deep focus) of these films). The film also boasts a fabulous cast, including Tetsuro Tamba, who seems uncredited. Read More »

Mansaku Itami – Akanishi Kakita aka Capricious Young Man (1936)

Synopsis
A samurai is ordered by his lord to go to Edo and investigate the truth behind the rumor of a rebellion against him. After collecting enough information to prove a conspiracy, the samurai needs to devise some way of leaving Edo without creating suspicion and comes up with a cockeyed plan. Based on the short story by Shiga Naoya. Read More »