Japan

Akio Jissoji – Yoiyami semareba aka When Twilight Draws Near (1969)

Here’s Jissoji Akio’s impressive theatrical debut. Distributed by ATG and with a script by Oshima Nagisa, it’s a fascinating dissection of 1960s Japanese youth angst. Oshima wrote the screenplay for television in 1964, but due to the subversiveness of the story it never got made there. Which doesn’t come as a surprise, considering that the film consists of four students in a room, who decide to leave the gas on and bet money on who will stay there the longest… Read More »

Masaharu Segawa – Kanashii kibun de joke (1985)

Synopsis: This is a sad and beautiful story about a father who is a popular comedian and a son who suffered by an incurable disease. Read More »

Kiyoshi Kurosawa – Hebi no michi AKA Serpent’s Path (1998)

Midnight Eye review:
Serpent’s Path and its companion piece Eyes of the Spider (Kumo No Hitomi) both start from the same premise: a man taking revenge for the murder of a child. Kurosawa used this premise as the jumping-off point for the two films rather than their definition, resulting in a pair of works which are not so much occupied with revenge, but with the mental processes of human beings in situations that have placed them outside everyday life. Read More »

Teruo Ishii – Gensen-Kan Shujin AKA Master of the Gensenkan Inn (1993)

Synopsis by AMG:
After a 14-year-absence, Teruo Ishii returned to the director’s chair with this anthology film based on the works of manga artist Yoshiharu Tsuge. The main character in all four segments is a fledgling cartoonist named Tsube (Shiro Sano). In the first segment, Tsube encounters a dotty old man named Ri (Akio Yokoyama) after renting a tumble-down cottage in the country. The following day, Ri, his equally weird wife (Chika Nakagami), and his two squalid children move into his house. Soon the wife is stealing the cucumbers in his garden while the two kids devour all the food in the house. Read More »

Seijun Suzuki – “Kyôfu gekijô umbalance” Miira no koi AKA A Mummy’s Love (1973)

An editor goes to visit her lecherous old professor to discuss a new publication of Akinari Ueda’s Tales of Spring Rain, and he recounts the story of a revived mummified Buddhist monk who ran amok in a village in pre-modern Japan. In the present, he tells her that her late husband has been spotted roaming nearby lately… Read More »

Shinji Sômai – Gyoei no mure AKA The Catch (1983)

Tuna fishing. It doesn’t exactly evoke the stuff of drama, yet very dramatic is this gripping yarn (puns intended) about the solemn, solitary lives of the men who catch what ends up as our sushi and sashimi. Opening with a shot of a young couple traversing sand dunes, the woman posits a question – women or fishing? This question fuels the drama of the next two-plus hours. – See more at: link Read More »

Susumu Hani – Kanojo to kare AKA She and He (1963)

Quote:
One of Hani’s recurring themes was the status of women in modern society. His first attempt at the subject was this Antonioniesque melodrama set in a sterile high rise complex. A woman resident becomes discontent with the empty life she and her husband are leading. They encounter a street beggar who lives in poverty with his dog and a blind orphan. The woman becomes fascinated by the beggar’s world and pursues a friendship which leads to terrible discord and a tragedy. Read More »