Masao Adachi – Ryakusho: renzoku shasatsuma AKA Serial Killer (1969)

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Midnight Eye wrote:
A horrifying series of murders, committed by a teenaged killer in 1968, prompted a group of filmmakers to chart his path, capturing the things he might have seen before committing his crimes. Their result is this provocative, rarely-screened meditation on geography and society. Continue reading

Hiroshi Shimizu – Hanagata senshu aka A Star Athlete (1937)

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Quote:
From acquarello at Strictly Film School Blog: Hiroshi Shimizu’s government-pressured, militarism-era film A Star Athlete is a breezy, refreshingly lighthearted, and subtly subversive slice-of-life comedy that centers on an all-day student march in formation and armed combat drills through the rural countryside for military training exercises. Shimizu demonstrates his deceptively facile adeptness and virtuoso camerawork through a series of extraordinarily choreographed plan sequence shots: a track-and-field race around the campus track between the school’s start athlete Seki (Shuji Sano) and his constantly spurring – and sparring – team mate (Chishu Ryu); an extended dolly sequence of the students’ march as bemused villagers and flirtatious, love-struck young women alternately respectfully step aside, playfully trail, obliviously obstruct, and amorously chase the dashing students in uniform; a mock battlefield charge assault through muddy fields as a guilt-ridden motley crew of travelers on the road scramble to flee from the students in a mistaken belief of being chased in retribution for their petty transgressions during their brief stay in the village. Continue reading

Tadashi Imai – Mata au hi made AKA Till We Meet Again (1950)

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Saburo and Keiko fall in love with each other but the tide of the war separates them.

Review:
It’s a scene that would be cherished and preserved in the cinema’s pantheon of moments were it known; a simple scene – a young man saying goodbye to his girl at her home. They are trying to come to terms with the fact that the fates don’t seem to want to be together. He leaves, and she goes back to the living room and moves to the window to watch him go. Snow is falling steadily. She waits for him to look back, which he does about 10 yards or so away. He starts to come back and stops in front of the window. He’s positioned lower down than her, but after longingly staring at each other, and the camera showing us each of their anguished faces in turn, he stands on tip toe to pucker up his lips to the glass. She in turn motions her head down to meet his lips. Continue reading

Akio Jissoji – D-Zaka no satsujin jiken AKA The D-Slope Murder Case (1998)

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1998 was the peak of his “Big Bang” years, in terms of the number of works released and his explosive beauty. In addition to 4 movies and a few TV dramas, he also played Hamlet with Ninagawa. Sanada-san in 1998 has a special aura that makes me chill. Among his 1998 movies, D-zaka is my top favorite, in which Sanada’s beauty and elegance are fully exploited, and I got totally glued to this erotic mystery. Continue reading

Nobuo Nakagawa – Onna shikeishû no datsugoku AKA Death Row Woman (1960)

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Synopsis:

A Hitchcockian narrative and noirish atmosphere characterise this effective, taut thriller, made the same year as the director’s magnum opus, JIGOKU (Hell). Set in the present day, DEATH ROW WOMAN is at once a prison film, an innocent-man/woman-on-the-run story, a police procedural, and a family melodrama, that is equal parts Hitchcock, Samuel Fuller and Douglas Sirk. Continue reading