Japan

Tatsumi Kumashiro – Seishun no satetsu aka Bitterness of Youth (1974)

Quote:
“Bitterness of Youth (1974) was Kumashiro’s first non-roman poruno (<– wrong), based on a novel with a family resemblance to Dreiser’s “An American Tragedy “and set in a milieu of imploded student radicalism: A callow law student impregnates the classmate he is tutoring, then dumps her for his wealthy cousin. The most extraordinary scene has the antihero and his ex revisit the ski resort where they began their affair—carrying on in the snow in a long, behavioral sequence that recapitulates their relationship as they roll struggling and screaming downhill toward a raging river.” Read More »

Akio Jissoji – Akutoku no sakae aka Marquis de Sade’s Prosperities of Vice [+Extras] (1988)

Synopsis :
A decadent Count in 1920’s Japan becomes obsessed with the works of the Marquis de Sade. He creates a theatre to show plays adapted from the notorious writers novels, and recruits a variety of theives, prostitutes and low lives to act out his fantasies on stage for the delight of his rich and decadent friends.
In search of new sensations, the nobleman orders one of the actors, on pain of death, to make love to the noblemans wife while he watches. Unfortunately, this incursion of real life into his fantasy world will have dire consequences for the count and his coterie.
Full of startling images and with a gripping storyline, this film is a feast for the eyes and mind. A classic waiting to be discovered. Read More »

Kaneto Shindô – Ichimai no hagaki AKA Postcard (2010)

Synopsis:
Toward the end of World War II, middle-aged soldier Keita is entrusted with a postcard from a comrade who is sure he will die in battle. After the war ends, Keita visits his comrade’s wife Yuko and bears witness to the tragic life she has led. This year’s Oscar entry from Japan finds SHINDO in top form and his 49th and reportedly last film as fresh and poignant as ever. Read More »

Kihachi Okamoto – Sengoku yaro AKA Warring Clans (1963)

In this Japanese samurai adventure, a brave, highly principled warrior resigns his post as a body guard to the head of a powerful clan after he learns that his employers have been smuggling arms to the enemy. The remaining samurai try in vain to coerce him back, but their efforts are thwarted by crooked warriors who launch an attack.
The sword fights are especially exciting. Read More »

Hideo Nakata – Joyû-rei AKA Don’t Look Up (1996)

Hideo Nakata, director of the Japanese horror phenomenon, Ringu, made his feature debut with Joyurei, or Ghost Actress, also known as Don’t Look Up. Nakata worked from a screenplay by Hiroshi Takahashi, who also wrote the screenplay for Ringu 2.
On the set of a dark WWII drama, a young director, Murai, works with two actresses playing sisters. He clearly has a bit of a crush on Hitomi, the older actress, and keeps a photo of her by his bedside. The younger actress, Saori, is inexperienced and playful. One day the production uses discarded tail ends from other productions to shoot, and when they’re looking at the dailies later, they see the scene they were shooting interrupted by a scene (with no sound) from an earlier film. Read More »

Takashi Miike – The Man in White Part 2: Requiem for the Lion (2003)

Synopsis:
A rowdy, young yakuza takes revenge against a gang of thousands for the death of his boss.

Review:
Wow! The second and final part Miike’s Yurusarezaru mono (or: The Man in White) is pretty damned impressive! Following directly from the previous part’s cliffhanger ending, Miike steps up the action tenfold, adding new deranged characters to obstruct Azusa’s path of vengeance for the death of his boss. Read More »

Takashi Miike – Yurusarezaru mono AKA The Man in White (2003)

Asuza is a yakusa always dressed in white, a pure, yet tarnished man. A child from the streets, he saw his father assassinated by his older brother, and his mother commit suicide. These traumatizing events haunt him in the present. Asuza is now a member of a criminal group. He has been taken under the wing of the gang’s leader, his new adoptive father. When this second father figure is suddenly assassinated, Asuza plunges rapidly into an infernal revenge scheme. As he searches tirelessly for the killer, he discovers that once again, his older brother is the culprit. A confrontation is inevitable. When Asuza meets his brother face to face, he learns that behind every murder committed, lie motives more complex than they first appear. Read More »