Takeshi Kitano – Ryûzô to 7 nin no kobun tachi AKA Ryuzo and His Seven Henchmen (2015)

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From hollywoodreporter.com
To the many ways in which the career of Japanese auteur and action star Takeshi Kitano resembles that of Clint Eastwood, we can now add another: Both have made the increasingly obligatory geezer-comeback film. It was retired astronauts in Eastwood’s Space Cowboys; in Kitano’s Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen, we get yakuza who hobble out onto not-so-mean-anymore streets attempting to regain their fearsome reputations. A bit sillier than it needs to be to earn the laughs it winds up getting, the likeable picture (which got a Japanese release in April) isn’t colorful enough to reach beyond the director’s established fan base here. Of those who follow Kitano, some will lament his small role onscreen. Continue reading

Shion Sono – The Virgin Psychics AKA Eiga: minna! Esupâ da yo! (2015)

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From Busan International Film Festival:

High school student Kamogawa Yoshiro wakes up one day to discover that he has psychic superpowers. He also soon discovers that others in the city have the gift, only some of them are hellbent on causing trouble. He becomes embroiled in several strange incidents and eventually overcomes those seeking to do the city and its people harm, meeting the woman of his dreams along the way. A film that takes a different approach to the superhero genre by introducing a joyful young man who becomes a hero not by boasting of his superpowers but by overcoming temptation.
The Virgin Psychics is an adaptation of a serial comic strip that has been published in Weekly Young Magazine since 2009. It was later made into a TV show (also by SONO Sion) in 2013 and is the director’s fifth film. SONO is the same filmmaker who brought us Love & Peace, Shinjuku Swan, The Chasing World, and the independent film Whispering Star (scheduled to be released in theaters next year), which was shot in the area ravaged by the Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown. (PARK Jin-hee) Continue reading

Kôji Wakamatsu – Erotikkuna kankei aka Les Liaisons Erotiques [+Extra] (1992)

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Synopsis:
Set in Paris, the plot (despite the title, not even dangerously close to Laclos as has been suggested elsewhere) concerns a low-key private detective agency run by Rie and her buffoonish partner Kishin (ex-rockstar Uchida), two expats who tick along between cases by giving guided tours of the city to busloads of Japanese tourists. After the wealthy Okuyama (Kitano) hires them to trail his French mistress Loren (Galin) whom he believes to be having an affair, the feeble-willed Kishin finds himself seduced by this femme fatale and way out of his depth in a seamy underworld of rich Japanese businessmen, S&M games and huge piles of money. Meanwhile Rie is being wined and dined by Okuyama who seems to have a hidden agenda all of his own. – Continue reading

Hirokazu Koreeda – Umimachi Diary AKA Our Little Sister (2015) (HD)

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There are three sisters: 29-year-old Sachi Kouda (Haruka Ayase), 22-year-old Yoshino Kouda (Masami Nagasawa) and 19-year-old Chika Kouda (Kaho). They live at a house in Kamakura, Japanese. Their house was left by their grandmother.
One day, they receive news of their father’s death. When the sisters were young, their parents divorced and their father left them. They haven’t seen their father in 15 years. Upon hearing the news on their father’s death, the sisters attend their father’s funeral.
At the funeral, they meet their stepsister Suzu Asano (Suzu Hirose). She is 14-years-old and there are no one to take care of her. Oldest sister Sachi invites Suzu to live with them. Continue reading

Masao Adachi & Kôji Wakamatsu – Seiyûgi AKA Sex Game (1969)

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Quote:
The film begins in a lengthy free-love session taking the form of a ‘play“ rape being enacted by a group of aimless, listless and political apathetic students. As they loaf around, reading manga and smoking cigarettes the next morning, before they turfed out onto the streets by the girl whose apartment it is, they banter about how the act of rape might add some more spice to their lives; the difference between ‘doing it’ for real and merely acting out their fantasies with their complicit girlfriends. The subtext intended by Adachi informs the rest of the film – that there is a world of difference between direct action politics, and merely talking the talk. The four bored loafers then drive to the university building (in fact Adachi’s very own Nihon University) only to find it taken over by student activists, its walls daubed with graffiti, and its doors and windows boarded over. They bundle a girl handing out flyers in the back of their car, drag her off to an abandoned lecture theater strewn with propaganda leaflets and, making their words reality, rape her. Later, when one of the assailants, Kenji, becomes stricken with remorse, he follows the girl named Taeko (played by Butoh dancer Natsu Nakajima) back to her home where she lives with her brother, part of a gang of student revolutionaries who spend their time making firebombs. Here, not entirely convincing, she falls in love with her rapist. (Jasper Sharp – Behind the Pink Curtain) Continue reading

Naomi Kawase – Futatsume no mado AKA Still the Water (2014)

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On the subtropical Japanese island of Amami, traditions about nature remain eternal. During the full-moon night of traditional dances in August, 16-year-old Kaito discovers a dead body floating in the sea. His girlfriend Kyoko will attempt to help him understand this mysterious discovery. Together, Kaito and Kyoko will learn to become adults by experiencing the interwoven cycles of life, death and love. (~festival-cannes.fr) Continue reading