Japan

Shelly Silver – A Tiny Place That is Hard to Touch (2019)

In a faceless apartment in Tatekawa, Tokyo, an American woman hires a Japanese woman to translate interviews about Japan’s declining birthrate. The two women grate, fight, and then crash together in love or lust, at which point their story gets hijacked into science fiction territory, as the translator interrupts their work sessions with stories from a world infected with the knowledge of its own demise. Read More »

Kazuo Ikehiro – Nakayama shichiri AKA In A Ring Of Mountains (1962)

Quote:
This movie is probably as close to a chick flick as Raizo ever made! But there’s still good action and a very inventive sword fight at the end. Raizo fans cannot resist him any way. Info is sparse on this film, just recently translated into English, and once again, I rely on Paghat the Ratgirl for a review of this film:

Kiba-no-Masakichi, Masa for short, is a lumber worker who falls in love with Oshima (Tamao Nakamura) almost at first sight, in The One & Only Girl I Ever Loved (Nakayama shichiri, 1962). Read More »

Mio Ezaki – Macao no Ryu AKA The Dragon of Macao (1965)

Story
Ryu (Akira Kobayashi) sets foot on the Yokohama port with a suitcase filled with 300 thousand dollars. He was sent by a jewelry company in Hong Kong to retrieve a certain diamond that was stolen from them. The “Himalayan Star” is worth couple hundred million yen and unbeknown to Ryu, it now lays in the hands of Aizu (Jo Shishido), the infamous ”Pirate of the Tokyo Bay.” Read More »

Toshihiro Tenma – Kyôso tanjô AKA Many Happy Returns (1993)

Quote:
A young man, Kazuo, joins a new cult religion even though he sees through the initial recruitment pretense, and participating in the activities of a new social phenomenon, some of whose members genuinely believe in the principles and practice as preached, while others have more Machiavellian motives. (imdb) Read More »

Kôhei Yoshidome – Shin ningen shikkaku AKA New – No Longer Human (1978)

Based on the novel by Osamu Dazai and distributed by ATG. The story of a young man who is caught between the breakup of the traditions of a northern Japanese aristocratic family and the impact of Western ideas. In consequence, he feels himself “disqualified from being human” (a literal translation of the Japanese title) and goes down the stairs to self-destruction step by step. Read More »

Nobuhiko Ôbayashi – Noyuki yamayuki umibe yuki AKA To the Fields, to the Hills, to the Beaches [B&W Version] (1986)

During the fervently nationalist months leading up to World War II, a rebellious teenager is transferred to a new primary school in a small Inland Sea town. He vies with the school’s reigning bully, who takes a romantic interest in his older stepsister. When they learn she’s going to be sold to a brothel to pay off her father’s debts, they form an uneasy alliance to free her. With surprising moments of caricature and slapstick, Obayashi celebrates the anarchic world of adolescence while also satirizing adult hypocrisy and conformism. Read More »

Shin’ya Tsukamoto – Tokage AKA Lizard (2003)

Tokage was commissioned by television network NHK for a series in which the works of famous Japanese authors would be narrated on film, as captured by noteworthy directors. Tsukamoto was asked to direct the short story Lizard, by Banana Yoshimoto.

Lizard concerns a love affair between two healers who are unable to heal their own psychic wounds. The narrator is a counselor for disturbed children. He has fallen in love with a profoundly sad woman nicknamed Lizard who longs for oblivion. Lizard has an uncanny ability to diagnose and treat other people’s illnesses. Read More »