Japan

Kihachi Okamoto – Akage aka Red Lion (1969)

Gonzo (Toshiro Mifune), a member of the Imperial Restoration Force, is being asked by the emperor to deliver official news to his home village of a New World Order. Wanting to pose as a military officer, he dons the Red Lion Mane of Office. Upon his return, his attempt to tell the village about a brand-new tax cut is quashed when the townfolk mistakenly assumes that he is there to rescue them from corrupt government officials. He learns that an evil magistrate has been swindling them for years. Now, he has to help the village, ward off Shogunate fanatics, along with the fact that he can’t read his own proclamations… Read More »

Nobuhiko Obayashi – Sabishinbô aka Lonely Heart (1985)

Lonely and love-struck, high-school student Hiroki pursues one girl but another one mysteriously appears in his life. Is she a figment of his lonely psyche, or real? An intricate triangle develops, and the viewer can’t quite be sure what is happening until the whole story is neatly resolved at the end. Read More »

Akio Jissôji – Utamaro: Yume to shiriseba AKA Utamaro’s world (1977)

ClarkeFountain-AllMovieGuide wrote:
Utamaro was an artist who lived in Edo (which was later to become modern-day Tokyo) in the late 18th century. This film, which has a complex and wide-ranging storyline, recreates the world of that time, as it appeared in Utamaro’s paintings. In one the many scenes captured by the story, Utamaro watches the goings-on in a brothel while hidden in its attic. Read More »

Kenji Misumi – Zatôichi chikemuri kaidô AKA Zatoichi Challenged (1967)

Synopsis:
Ichi is staying at an inn when a woman dies. Her dying wish is that Ichi take her son to his father, an artist living in a nearby town. After arriving in the town, Ichi finds out that the father has been forced by a local boss to create illegal pornography to pay off his gambling debts. Ichi makes it his mission to save tha man and reunite the family, even though it brings him into conflict with a samurai he sort of befriended on his way to the town. Read More »

Hisayasu Satô – Lolita vib-zeme AKA Lolita Vibrator Torture (1987)

Synopsis:
A perverted social outcast lures young sailor-suited virgins to the back of his truck where he torments and murders them before disposing of their corpses in an acid bath. With one, however, he meets his match. Doing for the vibrator what Tobe Hooper did for the chainsaw, this particularly disturbing portrayal of borderline pubescent girls far more knowing than their adult male counterparts is arguably one of the most unpleasant Sadean sex fantasies ever to hit the big screen. Read More »

Akira Inoue – Zatôichi Nidan-kiri AKA Zatoichi’s Revenge (1965)

Synopsis:
Itinerant masseur and master swordsman, the blind Zatoichi, is near the village of his teacher, Hikonoichi, so he decides to visit. He learns of Hikonoichi’s recent robbery and murder and the imprisonment of his virginal daughter, Osayo, in a brothel. Through friendship with Denroku, a local dice thrower and devoted father, Ichi uncovers an unholy alliance between the governor and the area strongman: among their scams is falsifying tax records to put farmers in debt, then forcing their daughters into prostitution at the boss’s brothel. With help from Denroku’s daughter, Otsuru, Ichi comforts Osayo until he can provoke showdowns with the villains and their henchmen. Read More »

Tokuzô Tanaka – Zatoichi Kyojo Tabi AKA Zatoichi the Fugitive (1963)

Synopsis:
Blind swordsman/masseur Ichi (known as Zatoichi, or “Masseur Ichi”) angers a local yakuza gang when he defeats several of them in a wrestling match. When he finds that his long lost love Tane is nearby and romantically involved with a tough samurai in the employ of the gang, he remains in the village. Meanwhile, the young heir to the leadership is forced to confront his own fear and weakness when the gang insists he fight Ichi. Read More »