When a mountain man (Lone Wolf and Cub’s Tomisaburo Wakayama) kills a man and steals his wife (Shima Iwashita), he bites off more than he can chew. Rather than being a submissive victim, the beautiful woman soon browbeats her murderous husband into total compliance, convincing him to murder all but one member of his harem of dirty mountain women. She soon becomes his wife, and convinces him to take her (and the one girl she spared, now a maid) to the capital, where the mountain man begins his new vocation: collecting heads for his wife, who uses them as props in her own personal melodramas. Soon, Wakayama (his character has no name) becomes a feared figure in the city, and his wife’s collection of heads grows and grows. But how long can it last? Continue reading
“Hana-bi” is the highly acclaimed drama from and with Takeshi Kitano. In this film Kitano In a very honest way, also works up and reflects about his own inner life after his motorcycle accident that nearly cost him his life. So, it’s no big surprise that he implemented certain aspects of his character in the main lead as he did in Horibe.
With tranquil pictures and on a subtle level Kitano creates a story, that revolves around loneliness, isolation, guilt, love and grief. Very Kitano-like the almost poetically meditative looking pictures are interrupted by sudden bursts of violence. However, this just serves the purpose to imbue the story with the necessary amount of authenticity. Continue reading
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
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
Out of all the films director Quentin Tarantino pays homage to in his interpretation of the revenge flick, “Kill Bill”, the 1973 classic film “Lady Snowblood” takes credit for probably being the most influential to him. And rightly so; “Lady Snowblood” is one of the most original revenge films ever, particularly because of the protagonist who deals out the vengeance is not a man…but a woman. Based on a manga written by Kazuo Koike, who also created the “Lone Wolf and Cub” and “Crying Freeman” manga series, “Lady Snowblood” is one of the best revenge films I’ve seen. Continue reading
Seduction, betrayal, murder, insomnia and apparitions are the elements at play in Wayne Wang’s tense and masterful version of the eponymous short story by Spanish writer Javier Marías, which takes a bewitching look at the meaning of love… Continue reading
Two sisters live with their father. The younger sister is embroiled in an affair and becomes pregnant. The elder sister has run away from her husband and returned with her child to her parent’s home. Both sisters are astonished when their mother, long thought dead, turns up alive. The sisters are even more stunned when they learn what their mother’s life has been. Continue reading