Masahiro Shinoda – Himiko (1974) (HD)

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An imagined life of the prehistoric Japanese Queen Himiko, based loosely on a few mentions in Chinese chronicles. Himiko is presented as the head priestess of the Sun Goddess cult and a spirit medium. This cult later was used by the Japanese Imperial family as their claim to rule. Himiko is made queen when the king is killed, but lets the men around her rule. She is then deposed and killed because she lusts after her half-brother, who is more interested in Adahime, who supports the Earth Goddess. Continue reading

Sabu AKA Hiroyuki Tanaka – Miss Zombie (2013)

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A doctor and his family receive an unexpected delivery from an old friend at their remote country home – a large wooden crate containing a gun, a female zombie and an instruction sheet telling them not to feed her meat. The family is concerned, of course, but she seems harmless enough. Perhaps she can help clean up outside?

Welcome to the unusual world of MISS ZOMBIE, a world in which the zombie virus is clearly a well-known phenomenon and in which more docile sufferers are bought and sold to hobbyists or those looking for cheap labor. It’s a practice not without controversy – the neighborsaren’t thrilled about the newly arrived undead – but she’s quiet, requires little supervision and is an immediate hit with the family’s young son. Continue reading

Yôji Yamada – Chiisai ouchi AKA The Little House (2014)

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Takeshi finds several notebooks by his late aunt Taki Nunomiya, who never married. Through the notebooks Takeshi learns of his aunt’s life.
Prior to World War II, in a little house with a red triangular roof in Tokyo, Taki works as a housemaid. The family that lives in the little house consists of 3 members: the husband who works at a toy company, his beautiful wife Tokiko and their five year old son Kyoichi. Taki longs for her employer Tokiko. The husband then hires a young art school graduate named Shoji Itakura. Tokiko and Taki are both excited by the man’s artistic talents. Meanwhile, the war situation deteriorates as well as the relationships in the little house. Continue reading

Tomu Uchida – Kiga kaikyo aka The Straight of Hunger (1965)

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A very complete article about Tomu Uchida :
Here some words coming from it and about this particular film :
“Straits of Hunger is a definite attempt on his part to essay the modernist style and subject matter then being mined by such as Imamura (whose work in my opinion it surpasses). By this time Uchida worked invariably in colour; for this film only, the grainy look of ’60s black and white ‘Scope was aped and intensified by the decision to shoot on 16mm before blowing up to 35. The film is the story of a criminal, Inukai, who escapes justice after a theft which caused the destruction of a Hokkaido town. A brief encounter with a prostitute leads her to become romantically obsessed with him; years later, seeing his photograph in the newspaper, she goes to look for him, only to be killed by him when she threatens to betray his now hidden past. The narrative construction is masterly. The film is divided into three segments, each of different timbre: the first, an action-packed account of Inukai’s flight; the second, a bleak and realistic study of the life in Tokyo of the lovelorn prostitute; the third, an account of the psychological duel between cop and criminal. The drama moves, with geographical symmetry, from the strait dividing Hokkaido from Japan’s main island of Honshu, through northern Honshu to Tokyo, then northward again to conclude at the strait. The symmetry gives the film a sense of inevitability, as the past exerts a controlling influence on the present. Continue reading

Akira Kurosawa – Dodesukaden [+Extras] (1970)

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By turns tragic and transcendent, Akira Kurosawa’s film follows the daily lives of a group of people barely scraping by in a slum on the outskirts of Tokyo. Yet as desperate as their circumstances are, each of them—the homeless father and son envisioning their dream house; the young woman abused by her uncle; the boy who imagines himself a trolley conductor—finds reasons to carry on. The unforgettable Dodes’ka-den was made at a tumultuous moment in Kurosawa’s life. And all of his hopes, fears, and artistic passion are on fervent display in this, his gloriously shot first color film. Continue reading

Ishirô Honda – Gojira AKA Godzilla (1954)

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One of the longest-running series in film history began with Ishiro Honda’s grim, black-and-white allegory for the devastation wrought on Japan by the atomic bomb. As his visual metaphor, Honda uses a 400-foot tall mutant dinosaur called Gojira, awakened from the depths of the sea as a rampaging nuclear nightmare, complete with glowing dorsal fins and fiery, radioactive breath. Crushing ships, villages, and buildings in his wake, Gojira marches toward Tokyo, bringing all of the country’s worst nightmares back until an evil more terrible bomb — capable of sucking all the oxygen from the sea — returns the monster to its watery grave. The original film is chilling, despite some rather unconvincing man-in-a-suit special effects, and brimming with explicitly-stated anti-American sentiment. All of that was removed for the U.S. release directed by Terry Morse. It was replaced with bad dubbing and tedious added footage starring Raymond Burr. The resulting edit was just another monster movie, but was still popular enough to assure future Toho Studios monster films a wide American release. Gojira No Gyakushu (1955) was next in the series. Continue reading