Miyoji Ieki – Robo no Ishi AKA The Wayside Pebble (1964)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis:
The Wayside Pebble is an effective drama about the hardships of a childhood spent with a brusque, cold-hearted father and a submissive mother. The year is 1910 and the place is a small Japanese village. Goichi is suffering because he wants to go to school, but his family is too poor to afford that luxury. Even when a kind friend agrees to help out, Goichi’s father refuses to give in to his son’s request for an education. Instead, he sends Goichi off to work as an indentured servant for a cold-hearted merchant and his family. As tragedy strikes and the suffering of the young boy increases, he begins to look for some way out of his bleak situation. Continue reading

Chuan Lu – City of Life and Death AKA Nanking Nanking (2009)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

The third film from award-winning Fifth Generation director Lu Chuan (Kekexili: Mountain Patrol), City of Life and Death (Nanking Nanking) is a devastating account of the massacre that occurred during WWII when Japanese troops took the city of Nanjing in December 1937, a tragedy remembered as the Rape of Nanking. Shot completely in black and white, this powerful war drama unflinchingly captures the shocking violence and brutality of the Nanjing massacre, from the mass executions of POWs to the raping and slaughtering of civilians, while providing a deeply human portrait of both the victims and the perpetrators. Continue reading

Hsiu-Chiung Chiang – Saihate nite AKA The Furthest End Awaits (2014)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Misaki Yoshida (Hiromi Nagasaku) runs a roasting coffee shop in Tokyo. She lives alone. In order to find her father, who was separated from her when she was a child, Misaki goes back to her hometown in Noto Peninsula. Misako opens a coffee shop there. Eriko Yamazaki (Nozomi Sasaki) is a single mother and works at a cabaret. Misaki is her new neighbor. While hanging around with Eriko and her children, Misaki slowly changes … Continue reading

Yimou Zhang – Hong gao liang AKA Red Sorghum (1987)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

An old leper who owned a remote sorghum winery dies. Jiu’er, the wife bought by the leper, and her lover, identified only as “my Grandpa” by the narrator, take over the winery and set up an idealized quasi-matriarchal community headed by Jiu’er. When the Japanese invaders subject the area to their rule and cut down the sorghum to make way for a road, the community rises up and resists as the sorghum grows anew. Continue reading