Mikio Naruse – Tsuma yo bara no yô ni AKA Wife! Be Like a Rose! (1935)

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The effervescent and charming Chiba Sachiko (Naruse’s wife at the time) plays Kimiko, the bold daughter who travels to the countryside to find her estranged father to seek his consent for her forthcoming marriage . When Kimiko discovers that her father has taken up with a young geisha and is just as difficult as ever, her journey forces her to reconsider her ideas about familial ties. The film was Naruse’s biggest success to date and one of his warmest films. WIFE, BE LIKE A ROSE! won first place in Kinema Junpo that year and became one of the exceedingly rare Naruse films to earn distribution in the US. Continue reading

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Naomi Kawase – Futatsume no mado AKA Still the Water (2014)

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From wikipedia:

“Still the Water (2つ目の窓 Futatsume no mado?) is a 2014 Japanese romance film directed by Naomi Kawase. It was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.[1] It has been selected to be screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.[2]

Kawase has described the film as her “masterpiece”, deserving of the Palme d’Or and states: “This is the first time that I have said this about a film. After the Camera d’Or and the Grand Prix, there is nothing I want more than the Palme d’Or. I have my eyes on nothing else.”[3]

The film was taken in the scenic nature of Amami City, Amami Ōshima, in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan in 2013.[4] The music was produced by Hasiken,[5] a male singer-songwriter from Chichibu, Saitama.” Continue reading

Hiroshi Shimizu – Tokyo no eiyu AKA A Hero of Tokyo (1935)

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“This late silent film is little more than an hour long, and achieves a narrative concentration and emotional intensity which place it among the neglected gems of the Japanese cinema of the 1930s. The story focuses on the widower Nemoto, ostensibly a businessman, who has one son, Kanichi, the hero of the title. Nemoto remarries; his new wife is a widow with a son and daughter of her own. However, Nemoto’s business turns out to be out a shady scam, and he disappears, leaving his wife to raise the three children alone. In order to support the family, she is obliged to become a bar hostess. She conceals this shameful employment from the children, but the truth comes out years later, after her daughter is rejected by her husband’s family when they investigate her background. The film contains powerful performances from Mitsugu Fujii, here making the last of his regular appearances for Shimizu, and Mitsuko Yoshikawa, a specialist in the haha-mono (“mother-film”) genre. Continue reading

Lino Brocka – Tinimbang ka ngunit kulang AKA You Have Been Weighed and Found Wanting (1974)

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From Database of Philippine Movies :
Tinimbang, considered by Lino Brocka as his “first novel” and his first production for his own film outfit, is the story of a young boy growing up in a small town and the unusual friendship he develops with a leper and the village idiot. Their stories draw forth the true nature of hypocrisy in the small town and the boy bears witness and participates in the various emotions that throb under the seemingly quiet village life-prejudice, cruelty, forgiveness, and even love. In Tinimbang, Brocka clearly shows man’s limitations as a mortal being, but sends a message of hope for the movie, and in the end, speaks ultimately of rebirth and maturity. Continue reading

Jun’ya Satô – Golgo 13 (1973)

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Review @ sketchesofcinema
Takao Saito’s Golgo 13 comics aren’t very easy to adapt into live action features due to their international nature, but Toei went all the way with this first attempt. Junya Sato shot the film on location in Iran with mostly foreign cast. The lead role is played by the heavenly cool Ken Takakura, whose combination of charisma, black sunglasses and M16 assault rifle makes him one of the coolest asssassins in film history. Both execution and storywise the film could be better – and it would’ve been a good to opt for local languages istead of having the entire Iran speak Japanese – but with its rare international setting, superb leading man and some exciting action Golgo 13 easily ranks more interesting than Toei’s average action thrillers of the era. Due to the high expenses the studio didn’t allow Golgo 13 to return to the big screen until in 1977 in a slightly inferior Shinichi Chiba film Golgo 13: Kowloon Assignment. Continue reading

Lino Brocka – Maynila: Sa mga kuko ng liwanag AKA Manila in the Claws of Neon (1975)

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Quote:
Manila: In the Claws of Darkness is the most impressive of his films noirs, made with bows to the American cinema, to Italian neo-realism and to his own country’s tradition of star-driven melodramas, but with the force of a third-world director determined to say something about his own society.It is the richly romantic but realistic odyssey of a boy named Julio, who arrives in Manila from the country to search for his childhood sweetheart. The darkness of the title refers to the capital itself, which, said Brocka, exerts an invisible force on the lives of its people. Continue reading

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