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

Momoko Andô – 0.5 miri AKA 0.5 mm (2014)

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From japansociety.org
Sawa, a home helper for a middle class family with an elderly infirm grandfather, is forced to stretch her morals to keep her job. As a result, she finds herself broke and out on the street. She survives her first night by striking up an ambiguous friendship with a kindly old man, gaining access to a portion of the immense wealth held by Japan’s aging population. She continues with similar encounters, and while these begin as scams or revenge on rampant sexism, they ultimately become vulnerable intergenerational exchanges. Director Momoko Ando (Kakera: A Piece of Our Life, 2009) masterfully crafts this journey through Japan’s embattled sexual landscape, confronting aging, class and patriarchy. Adapted from the director’s first novel, 0.5mm features Sakura Ando (the director’s sister), who charges each scene with as much humanity as its impeccably photographed frames can handle. This is a dark and profound comedy of the best sort. Continue reading

Toshio Masuda – Kanzenna yugi AKA Perfect game (1958)

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In recent years, director Toshio Masuda has worked on the international stage with action-oriented movies such as Tora! Tora! Tora! and the Space Cruiser Yamato films. But he began his career in the middle-late 1950s with The Perfect Game (aka Kanzen Na Yuugi), a shockingly amoral tale of delinquency, rape, and murder that was to Japan, what In Cold Blood was to American cinema. It was among the earliest works in the career of a director who has generated little except major box office hits in Japan since the 1950s. …says Criterion. Or in short: young Akira Kobayashi of Nikkatsu’s diamond line fame’s cool combined with a tale about a heist which goes terribly wrong. Continue reading