Kihachi Okamoto – Nikudan aka The Human Bullet (1968)

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The summer of 1945. As a “human bullet” of the Kamikaze Unit, 21-year-old “he” is inside a drum with a torpedo. While he waits, he looks back on a short adolescence, reminiscing on the harsh training, a friendly bookstore, and a girl he loved. A complement to The Emperor and a General, and based on personal experience, Okamoto comically portrays the stupidity of war as well as the sentiments of youth. Though filmed on a low budget as an independent production, the tone of the 16mm image, the dry and humorous monologues and the surreal beach scene etc. create a unique effect. Continue reading Kihachi Okamoto – Nikudan aka The Human Bullet (1968)

Kihachi Okamoto – Eburi manshi no yûga-na seikatsu AKA The Elegant Life Of Mr. Everyman (1963)

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Eburi is a 36 year-old man. Nothing enthuses him any more. While being drunk, he promises to contribute a story to a magazine. When he sobers down, he decides to write about the life of a salaried employee like himself who is very ordinary, not particularly talented.
The following is his story:
In 1949, Eburi gets married to Natsuko. His monthly salary is 8,000 yen and hers 4,000 yen. Therefore, both have to work to support themselves. Eburi has developed a habituIl tendency to pester around when he gets drunk. One year after their marriage, son Shosuke is born. In 1959, Eburi’s mother dies in despair of her husband who has become listless due to the several ups and downs of gaining big profits and going bankrupt. His father is still alive and Eburi is enable to find a way to pay his father’s debts. He is doubtful if he can make his wife and child happy. Nevertheless, he has somehow managed to survive so far, living in one of the houses at the employee housing quarters. He gives the title “The Elegant Life of Mr. Everyman” to his story of half novel and half essay style. When it is published, it receives the Naoki Literary Prize (the award given in memory of popular writer Naoki Sanjugo). At a party to celebrate his award, he gets drunk and pesters around. Continue reading Kihachi Okamoto – Eburi manshi no yûga-na seikatsu AKA The Elegant Life Of Mr. Everyman (1963)

René Clair – Le Million (1931)

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Synopsis
A penniless artist, Michel, is pursued by creditors when he discovers he has won the million florin lottery. He realises that he left the winning lottery ticket in his jacket, which he gave to his girlfriend, Béatrice, to repair. However, Béatrice, upset when she saw Michel with another woman, gave the jacket away. What ensues then is a madcap chase by Michel and his friends to recover the missing jacket – and the million florin prize.
Films de France.com Continue reading René Clair – Le Million (1931)

Mike De Leon – Kakabakaba ka ba? AKA Will Your Heart Beat Faster? (1980)

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Kakabakaba Ka Ba? (lit. Does Your Heart Beat Faster?) is a 1980 musical-romantic comedy film produced by LVN Pictures (in its last offering) in 1980, with Mike De Leon as director.

The film revolves on two couples who found themselves in conflict with the foreign commercial giants that control the Philippine economy, the Japanese and the Chinese. Moreover, it involved the Catholic Church which has a stranglehold on the Philippine society itself. The film reflects on the Philippine economy and society being primarily controlled by other forces for their own benefits and become instruments in performing illegal activities. Actors Christopher de Leon, Sandy Andolong, Jay Ilagan and Charo Santos starred as main cast in the film, while Johnny Delgado and APO Hiking Society’s Boboy Garovillo portrayed as main villains. Continue reading Mike De Leon – Kakabakaba ka ba? AKA Will Your Heart Beat Faster? (1980)

Leonid Gayday – 12 Stulyev AKA Twelve Chairs (1971)

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Synopsis From Taste of Cinema
This film serves as an adaptation of the classic novel. Unlike so many films listed, it didn’t have a revolutionary effect in the film industry, nor did it criticize the Soviet Union. It has no special effect or imagery, but it is one of those films we love so much. The reason why this adaptation is so peculiar and differs from others is the main actor – Archil Gomiashvili, the man with amazing charisma and sense of humor.

One can even say that Gomiashvili wasn’t even acting as Ostap Bender, he was Ostap Bender. When we say Ostap Bender in post-soviet countries, the face of Gomiashvili istantly pops up. If you want to see a funny comedy which will leave you smiling even two hours after watching the film, then Twelve Chairs is the one.
Continue reading Leonid Gayday – 12 Stulyev AKA Twelve Chairs (1971)

Chantal Akerman – Golden Eighties AKA Window Shopping (1986)

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Synopsis:
Three young women at a hair salon all like the son of the clothing store proprietors across the mall. Although Robby is selfish and shallow, he’s appealing to Lili, the salon’s manager, who’s trendy and also the salon-owner’s moll; to Mado, who’s innocent and sweet; and to Pascale, who’s intelligent but passive and downcast. Robby’s dad tells him to grow up and see beyond the mercurial Lili, so he proposes suddenly to Mado. She’s delighted, but the day before the wedding, Lili returns to give Robby another look. In the background, a Yank who was a soldier in France in World War II returns to Paris and tries to recapture the love of his wartime sweetheart, Robby’s mom.
Continue reading Chantal Akerman – Golden Eighties AKA Window Shopping (1986)

Albert Brooks – Lost in America (1985)

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In this hysterical satire of Reagan-era values, written and directed by Albert Brooks, a successful Los Angeles advertising executive (Brooks) and his wife (Julie Hagerty) decide to quit their jobs, buy a Winnebago, and follow their Easy Rider fantasies of freedom and the open road. When a stop in Las Vegas nearly derails their plans, they’re forced to come to terms with their own limitations and those of the American dream. Brooks’s barbed wit and confident direction drive Lost in America, an iconic example of his restless comedies about insecure characters searching for satisfaction in the modern world that established his unique comic voice and transformed the art of observational humor. Continue reading Albert Brooks – Lost in America (1985)