Japan

Yasuzô Masumura – Rikugun Nakano gakko AKA Nakano Spy School (1966)

How a young second lieutenant becomes your basic Bond is the subject of this spy-vs.-spy noir set in 1938 at the start of the Sino-Japanese War. Jiro (Raizo Ichikawa) leaves his fiancée for a mysterious military assignment — he and a few good men are to be trained as special agents at the newly established Nakano Spy School, based on the British model. (The girlfriend, meanwhile, becomes involved in the machinations of the British themselves.) A True Fiction-style narrative offers both lessons in spying (bring your notepad, and a sense of humor) and the lessons of spying: for all its worldly ideals, and even without uniforms, the Spy School is a microcosm of a closed society. Read More »

Kaku Arakawa – 10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki (2019)

Synopsis

A 4-part documentary chronicling the creative process of the legendary Japanese filmmaker. He is shown as a passionate artisan, a steadfast trailblazer, and a father butting heads with his son. Read More »

Yoshimitsu Morita – 39 keihô dai sanjûkyû jô AKA Keiho (1999)

‘Keiho’ is a fascinating thriller dealing with memory, guilt and justice. A young actor is arrested for a brutal double murder. He confesses but pretty soon the possibility of him being mentally ill and therefore legally incompetent comes to the fore. A young female psychiatrist working on the case (called Kafka, interestingly enough!) becomes convinced that he is faking his apparent schizophrenia. All very good and ‘Primal Fear’ so far, but after that things get much more complicated, ambiguous and interesting. ‘Keiho’ is strongly acted, well written, and imaginatively directed, and will keep you guessing right until its’ final scenes. Supposedly based on a true case, unresolved at the time of the movies original release, this is a real gem that beats 90% of Hollywood’s lame and predictable thrillers at their own game. Try and see this one! Read More »

Kenjirô Morinaga – Shiosai AKA The Sound of Waves (1964) (HD)

Lonely youth Shinji meets Hatsue, a pretty pearl diver, on the beach and the two fall in love. But Shinji has a rival for Hatsue’s affections, Yasuo. Yasuo spreads unpleasant gossip about his rival, and Hatsue’s father forbids her to see Shinji. But when the boy saves the passengers on a boat owned by Hatsue’s father, his luck in love begins to change. Read More »

Makoto Satô – Self and Others (2001)

Synopsis
In 1983, photographer Gocho Shigeo met an early death at the young age of 36. The view we see reflected in Gocho’s photographic images has become more profound over time since his death and has struck a chord in people’s hearts. While focusing on Gocho’s collection of photographs Self and Others, the film also visits places associated with him, creating a collage with the manuscripts, letters, photographs and voice recordings remaining in an attempt to capture “one more gesture”—a theme pursued by Gocho through photographic expression. This film is neither a critical biography nor a monograph on the photographer. Rather, we are offered a new perception. As if mesmerized, the photographs Gocho left behind captivate us in their gaze. Read More »

Yoshimitsu Morita – Shitsurakuen AKA Lost Paradise (1997)

The tragic tale of two lovers whose passion burns so intensely it destroys them. Based on the bestselling novel by Junichi Watanabe, is about the fated love affair between Shoichiro, a middle-aged man who has come to regret devoting his whole life to his work, and Rinko, a beautiful woman trapped in a married life filled with depression and disillusion. A man engaged to Soichiro’s daughter, Chika, has fallen in love with Rinko, and Soichiro meets with her to ask her to end the relationship. However, despite their unpleasant first meeting, soon Shoichiro and Rinko find themselves drawn to each other, and find in each other something that had been missing in their lives. Their burning passion heightens, until their yearning for everlasting, perfect love leads to a fateful decision. Read More »

Kenjirô Morinaga – Shiosai AKA The Sound of Waves (1964)

Lonely youth Shinji meets Hatsue, a pretty pearl diver, on the beach and the two fall in love. But Shinji has a rival for Hatsue’s affections, Yasuo. Yasuo spreads unpleasant gossip about his rival, and Hatsue’s father forbids her to see Shinji. But when the boy saves the passengers on a boat owned by Hatsue’s father, his luck in love begins to change. Read More »