Japan

Kazuo Mori – Zatoichi sakate giri AKA Zatoichi and the Doomed Man (1965)

Synopsis:
Blind swordsman Zatoichi, jailed briefly, is implored by another prisoner to aid him in proving his innocence of a crime for which he is sentenced to death. Zatoichi is reluctant to get involved, because he knows how often such involvement has led to trouble in the past. But events conspire to thrust him repeatedly into involvement, and gradually he comes to believe in the man’s innocence and determines to free him. Read More »

Kenji Misumi – Zatôichi kesshô-tabi AKA Fight, Zatoichi, Fight (1964)

Synopsis:
Fight, Zatoichi, Fight finds our favorite masseur and swordsman once again on the run. This time, he’s being pursued by a ruthless band of samurai who have been hired to kill him. Thinking they’ve got Zatoichi cornered, they instead kill a young woman, who is returning to her husband with her infant son. Ichi, feeling responsible for the woman’s death, resolves to deliver the child safely into the arms of its father. Read More »

Kimiyoshi Yasuda – Zatoichi sekisho yaburi AKA Adventures of Zatoichi (1964)

Synopsis:
Blind swordsman/masseuse Zatoichi befriends a young woman looking for her father, a village leader who has disappeared. As he helps her investigate the disappearance, Zatoichi also becomes involved with another young woman who is trying to help her brother, who has murdered someone at about the same time and place as the missing man was last seen. Read More »

Kazuo Ikehiro – Zatôichi Abare Tako AKA Zatoichi’s Flashing Sword (1964)

Synopsis:
Blind masseur Zatoichi is nursed back to health by a young woman after he is shot by a gang member. Zatoichi, who had come to the village to repay a debt, now feels further indebted. He commits himself to use his amazing sword skills to help the young woman’s father, whose river-crossing service is under attack by the same gang responsible for Zatoichi’s wounds. Read More »

Kimiyoshi Yasuda – Zatôichi Kenka-tabi AKA Zatoichi on the Road (1963)

Synopsis:
Blind swordsman/masseuer Ichi (or “Zatoichi”) is asked by a dying man to deliver the maiden Mitsu (or “Omitsu”) to her family in Edo, and Zatoichi feels honor-bound to do so. But rival gangs each have an interest in kidnapping the girl for ransom. Zatoichi joins with one of the gangs when the other gang captures Mitsu, but he then finds that to rescue her, he must fight both gangs. Read More »

Noriaki Tsuchimoto – Document Rojo AKA On the Road: The Document (1964)

In 1963, Japan was in the midst of its long period of high economic growth and Tokyo was busy revamping its urban infrastructure. When most were celebrating the economic expansion, Noriaki Tsuchimoto focused his analytical gaze on the life of one taxi driver. What he saw were miserable and unhealthy labor conditions, a Tokyo littered with traffic jams and construction work, a city where traffic accidents were multiplying and pedestrians unsafe. Coupling the tense visuals with impressive music, Tsuchimoto likens this supposedly new Tokyo to a skeletal wreck. Read More »

Mikio Naruse – Midaregumo AKA Scattered Clouds AKA Two in the Shadow (1967)

Synopsis:
A husband and wife’s love for each other and plans for the future are shattered when the man dies in a car accident. Misery is compounded when the man’s parents disinherit his now widow and their former daughter-in-law. In the meanwhile, the chauffeur who accidentally killed a man is racked with guilt. In the melee, the driver and the widow begin to develop feelings for another. Read More »