Robert Houston – Shogun Assassin (1980)

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A sort of remake of Lone Wolf and Cub for the western market condensing the series in one film. In 1980, Americans David Weisman (producer) and Robert Houston (director) stumbled upon the Japanese Lone Wolf and Cub films (in turn based on a hugely successful manga comic book), and realised that while Western Audiences at the time would lap up the violent battles, they might not be ready for the Chanbara genre’s comparatively slow pacing and period politics. They decided to take the best bits of Lone Wolf and Cub parts 1 and 2, and add their own dubbing and simplified plot. Shogun Assassin was born, and is probably responsible to this day for the Chanbara movie’s arrival in the West. Best approached as an introduction to the Lone Wolf and Cub legend. Continue reading

Kôji Wakamatsu – Jitsuroku Rengo Sekigun: Asama sanso e no michi AKA United Red Army (2007)

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In a stark depiction of the dissatisfaction that followed the demise of 60’s idealism, United Red Army follows the story of the titular leftwing Japanese terrorist group that came together in 1972 as two pre-existing groups merged. Interspersed with large amounts of archival footage and employing a semi-pseudo-documentary style, the film visits upon the key historical figures and events that led to the United Red Army eventually purging much of its membership, leading five student radicalists to hole up in the Asano mountain lodge in Nagano Prefecture in a standoff against the police. Continue reading

Takashi Miike – Kaze ni tatsu raion AKA The Lion Standing in the Wind (2015)

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Jack-of-all-trades director Miike Takashi takes on more serious material in the human drama The Lion Standing in the Wind about the experiences of a Japanese doctor in Africa. Featuring location shooting in Kenya, the film is based on Sada Masashi’s novel and song Kaze ni Tatsu Lion, which were inspired by the true story of a Japanese doctor who operated a mobile clinic in the African nation. Continue reading

Yuxin Zhuang – Ai qing de ya chi AKA Teeth of Love (2007)

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Synopsis:
An experienced TV drama screenwriter and a professor at the Beijing Film Academy, Zhuang Yuxin makes his debut feature Love Teeth in 2006, winning much applause from critics. Praised as the female version of the award-winning In the Heat of the Sun, Love Teeth also documents the rapid social and economic changes in Mainland China after the disastrous Cultural Revolution. The notions of love, pain, and memory recur when the film unfolds a woman’s history of three romances that all end in physical as well as psychological pain. Officially selected for the Deauville Asian Film Festival 2007 in France, Love Teeth also won the Best Feature at the 14th Beijing Student Film Festival. Continue reading

Masaru Konuma – Tsuma-tachi no seitaiken: Otto no me no maede, ima… AKA Wife’s Sexual Fantasy Before Husband’s Eyes (1980)

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I just love Japanese pinku eiga:the genre filled with rape,misogyny and erotic submission. Masaru Konuma is among the most prominent directors of Japanese erotic cinema.”Wife’s Sexual Fantasy:Before Husband’s Eyes” tells the story of a noble businessman who has a sexual affair with a prostitute. Some thugs are trying to blackmail him by framing him for the murder of his mistress and making him agree to pay a large sum of money. They viciously rape his sexy wife too. Of course the woman becomes sexually aroused by the act of rape… Another piece of utter sleaze made by Masaru Konuma. Plenty of sex,two gang-rape scenes and lots of filthy talk-what more can you ask for? However the overall tone of the film is pretty light in comparison to many other nihilistic pinku eiga films. (HumanoidOfFlesh for IMDb) Continue reading