Japan

Noriaki Tsuchimoto – Shiranuikai AKA Minimata Part 2: The Shiranui Sea (1975)

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The Shiranui Sea is the second of the Minamata documentaries released by Zakka Films and widely considered to be Tsuchimoto’s masterpiece. If Minimata: The Victims and Their World follows the victims in their struggle for compensation for suffering from Minimata Disease, Japan’s most notorious case of environmental pollution, The Shiranui Sea provides a beautifully lyrical and compelling portrait of their everyday lives and difficulties. It is both a profound expose of how government and industry can undermine the environmental foundations of daily life, and a model for how documentary can humanely reveal human suffering.

“One of the monuments of Japanese documentary”. Read More »

Heinosuke Gosho – Ima hitotabi no AKA Once More (1947)

Synopsis
Before the war, Nogami, a doctor who devotes himself to the caring of the poor, meets Akiko during a theatrical representation. She’s a sheltered girl from a wealthy bourgeois family who finds herself drawn to him and his humanitarian ideals. Read More »

Shozin Fukui – Den Sen aka Infection (2004)


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Shozin Fukui, whose directorial style is often compared to that of Shinya Tsukamoto, put out two extremely strange DV-shot cyberpunk horror films in the 90s, 964 Pinocchio in 1991 and Rubber’s Lover in 1996, returns to film after a 10 year hiatus with Den Sen. This film was shot entirely on Digital Video. A trio of journalists receive a mysterious DVD from an unknown source. The young woman journalist decides to watch the DVD and disappears. Her two friends begin an investigation into her disappearance that turns up a video she shot while watching the DVD they received in the mail. Upon viewing it appears she was not alone in her apartment. Who is the mystery woman seen only in a reflection and what caused the young lady to commit suicide? Read More »

Takashi Miike – Silver – shirubaa (1999)

Based upon the manga by Hisao Mali, Silver centres around the exploits of Jun Shirogane (Shinobu Kandori), a karate expert and undercover police officer who conventionally has also undergone FBI training in the US. After her family who worked for the Secret Service are brutally murdered, she agrees to infiltrate a group of criminals known as the ‘Viper’s Nest’. The fact that she is also a karate expert gives her an upper hand in the seedy world of wresting that she has to inhabit in order to mete out justice to her family’s killers, adopting the name of ‘Silver’ as her wresting alter-ego and undercover moniker. Standing in her way, is the beautiful but dangerous, Nancy, a dominatrix and part of the powerful Otsunami yakuza family. Will ‘Silver’ manage to escape the sadistic attentions of Nancy, who is and I quote ‘the most powerful and stimulating woman of her generation’ and take her revenge, or will she become just another masochistic plaything for deadly femme fatale? Read More »

Ryuichi Hiroki – Yawarakai seikatsu aka It’s Only Talk (2005)

Yuko is 35 years old, single, out of work, and on medication from her psychiatrist to combat her manic depression. Living in Kamata Town, Yuko divides her time between a variety of men friends, each with his own peculiarities. Her university classmate, Homma, suffers from impotence. “K”, whom she meets on the net, is a self-confessed pervert. Then, there is a young gangster, Yasuda, who is a fellow manic depressive. Her cousin, Shoichi, is also on the scene, having left his family to pursue his mistress, only to be given the cold shoulder by her, too. Yuko seems to create a different persona depending on whom she is talking to at the time. Human contact is just as important for her as for anyone else, but sometimes her condition makes it difficult for others to relate to her for as long as she would like.” Read More »

Shiori Kazama – Kasei no kanon aka The Mars Canon (2002)

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A look at the problems two couples, Kohei and Kinuko, and Manabe and Hijiri, have in their relationships, and the solutions they try to devise as a way out. Kohei and Kinuko, despite their age difference, seem like a happy pair, but their is an insurmountable distance between them. Kohei is married to another woman, and Kinuko, though she know he will never divorce, can’t bring herself to break off the relationship and start anew. Manabe and Hijiri, meanwhile, start off happily enough, but eventually their passion begins to wane as Manabe starts looking to other women for sex. Hijiri, feeling rejected, moves into an apartment next door to Kinuko, where she plots to break up the mismatched couple to her own advantage. Read More »

Isshin Inudô – Kiiroi namida AKA Yellow Tears (2007)

The movie is centered around five friends as they end up spending the summer of 1962 shackled up together in a tiny studio apartment in Tokyo. The five friends are Eisuke – the manga artist, Shoichi – the singer, Ryuzo – the novelist, Kei – the painter and Yuji – the 5th wheel. The friends spend the summer in pursuit of their own ideals of personal freedom – being able to do what they want. In the process of pursuing their dream they learn firsthand that however ideal it may seem, its not as easy as they think. Read More »