Isao Takahata – Kaguyahime no monogatari AKA The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (2013)

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Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter and his wife, a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady. The mysterious young princess enthralls all who encounter her – but ultimately she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime. Continue reading

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Yoshihiro Nakamura – Shirayuki hime satsujin jiken AKA The Snow White Murder Case (2014)

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Plot:
Yuji Akahoshi (Gou Ayano) for a television show. He receives a phone call from an old high school friend, Risako Kano (Misako Renbutsu). She tells him that her co-worker at a cosmetics compay was stabbed to death and then doused in flames. Yuji Akahoshi decides to interview workers at the company and others that knew the victim, Noriko Miki (Nanao), for his television show.

Yuji Akahoshi soon discovers that another co-worker, Miki Shirono (Mao Inoue) disappeared the same night of the murder. She was last seen running to the train station shortly after Noriko Miki’s death. Yuji attempts to unravel the mystery of Miki Shirono. Continue reading

Ik-Joon Yang – Ddongpari AKA Breathless (2008) (HD)

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Quote:
A violent man learns compassion when he starts to care for a young woman in this independent crime drama. Song-hoon (Yang Ik-june) is a hired thug working for underworld kingpin Man-shik (Jeong Man-shik), whose money buys only so much of Song-hoon’s loyalty. Song-hoon has a violent streak and he’s not afraid to strike out against those who would turn against him or his boss, making him an enforcer to be reckoned with in the South Korean underworld. But Song-Hoon’s life begins to change when he meets Yeong-jae (Lee Hwan), Man-Shik’s newest underling. Yeong-jae has a teenage sister, Han Yeon-heui (Kim Gol-bi) who is as good-hearted as her brother is corrupt. Soon-hong and Yeon-heui get to know one another, and his affection for her brings out a compassionate side in his nature that he’s never been willing to acknowledge before. As Soon-hong falls deeper in love with Yeon-heui, he begins considering leaving his old life behind, which is more difficult than he ever imagined. Ddongpari (aka Breathless) was the first feature film from writer, producer and director Yang Ik-june, who also stars as Song-hoon. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi Continue reading

Koji Wakamatsu – Gendai sei hanzai zekkyo hen: riyu naki boko aka Violence Without A Cause (1969)

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Synopsis
Three poor young university student dropouts, with hardly any money left, hang around and decide to move to countryside Aomori where they stay at one of the boys small appartment. As they wander around the beach they spot a young couple and decide to rape the girl. They all feel rejected by society and try to get out of their state. One of the boys eventually gets a hold of a gun and commits suicide, while the other accidentally finds a gun and shoots at a policeman. The story was probably inspired by the figure of Norio Nagayama, a 19 year old serial killer who was convicted of killing 4 people in a cross-country murder spree in 1968 (see Masao Adachi’s movie AKA Serial Killer which is about this figure). Continue reading

Akira Kurosawa – Shichinin no samurai AKA Seven Samurai [+Extras] (1954)

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SYNOPSIS
One of the most beloved movie epics of all time, Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai) tells the story of a sixteenth-century village whose desperate inhabitants hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits. This three-hour ride—featuring legendary actors Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura—seamlessly weaves philosophy and entertainment, delicate human emotions and relentless action into a rich, evocative, and unforgettable tale of courage and hope.
(Criterion Collection) Continue reading

Hisayasu Sato – Shisenjiyou no Aria aka The Bedroom (1992)

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Hisayasu Sato’s THE BEDROOM is a bold, yet flawed film which manages to create an utter sense of depersonalization and loneliness, while still telling a great story. The visuals are great; blue and red light coat the bodies of the comatose girls of The Sleeping Room while giant TVs with constant static decorate the background. Sato’s spare use of music also helps to create tension in the film; the soundtrack features immense buildup that never actually climax, keeping the viewer aurally on edge. Despite the fact that the film may seem confusing at first, if the viewer is willing to actively watch the film and engage with the way Sato is telling his story, the viewer will be rewarded at the end. Continue reading

Yasujiro Ozu – Ohayô aka Good Morning (1959)

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Quote:

“Sooner or later, everyone who loves movies comes to Ozu. He is the quietest and gentlest of directors, the most humanistic, the most serene.” — Roger Ebert

It took long enough, but I sampled my first Yasujiro Ozu film, Good Morning (Ohayo), and will soon indulge myself with as many of his works as I can locate. At one time, his films were thought to be “too Japanese” and weren’t available in the West, but if Good Morning is any indication of his craft and appeal, Ozu deserves a much wider audience. It’s a film that works at multiple levels, and only artistic geniuses like Shakespeare have been able to pull off such a universal work that works with both down to earth people and with the upper levels of critical audiences equally. Continue reading

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